Hoquiam Firefighters Local #315 voted unanimously this week to approve the tentative agreement with the City of Hoquiam regarding policy changes and the previously contested layoffs.
This agreement will avoid the layoffs of four positions until December. With the agreement, the Local will not contest the loss of one position through attrition. The loss of that position will maintain staffing at levels prior to the addition of a position through the SAFER Grant. The grant has run it’s course and the City would be responsible for all of the wages and benefits for that position. According to the Local, “The staffing levels that remain will enable us to provide the highest level of safety for the citizens and our personnel while helping to ease the burden on the budget.”
The Local said in a release, “Our desire through these discussions has always been to provide safety for the citizens and our staff. We will continue to work with the City to maintain that level of safety while also trying to ease the burden on the budget through our continued negotiations to settle our expired Contract.”
Negotiations were already scheduled to be held last week following a notice by the City regarding the reduction. The positions were to be eliminated due to a drop in service calls and the resulting funding to the department, according to the City.
Through the agreement, the positions will only be guaranteed through December.