KSFR News

In another labor story, Santa Fe County is at an impasse with the firefighters’ union after a year of contract negotiations. The local International association of Fire Fighters 4366 has gone public with a dispute over payscale, sick leave, and overtime.

Jenna Marshall speaks with Pedro Nandino of the local IAFF 4366.

 

Santa Fe County officials did not grant an interview, but their communications coordinator sent the following email:

"Santa Fe County has a competitive pay and benefits package that compares favorably to other departments in the region.  Santa Fe County has also made consistent and sizable investments in the Fire Department, and is better positioned now to provide emergency fire and medical services than ever before. 

For example: 

  • Santa Fe County’s current career staff totals 77, which is the best we have ever been staffed in the history of the Santa Fe County Fire Department.
  • Santa Fe County supports more paid career firefighters than any other County Fire Department in New Mexico, with the exception of Bernalillo County.
  • In the last seven years, Santa Fe County has built new fire stations to provide our career staff with modern and comfortable living quarters. We have also upgraded a number of volunteer stations to provide safer and more efficient working environments for our more than 250 volunteers.
  • We continue to modernize our fire and EMS fleet and maintain one of the best and most comprehensive fleets in New Mexico.
  • We added three Shift Training Captains in September 2016 to improve and increase the level of fire and EMS training delivered to field staff. This was requested by the Union and fulfilled by Santa Fe County.

With regard to turnover, in the last two years, Santa Fe County has lost nine firefighters.  This does not equate to anywhere near a 40% turnover rate, and is lower than the national average turnover rate. 

With regard to resident safety, Santa Fe County is attempting to realign its staff to those areas of the County generating the highest emergency call volume.  This is an appropriate move to match resources with need.  In addition, Santa Fe County has a robust volunteer program, meaning that trained volunteer firefighters and EMTs are available and able to help respond to high call volumes or extraordinary events. 

With regard to the union’s last proposal, it would not have helped deliver “high quality service” or “improve public safety”, as the union claims.  Rather, the union wants to be paid overtime if taking vacations and other paid leave.  In other words, it wants paid leave to count as hours worked for overtime purposes.  This would come at a cost to the taxpayer, without increasing the number of staff available to respond to calls."

Direct download: IAFF4366PresidentPedroNandino_firefighters_labor_dispute1206.mp3
Category:KSFR News -- posted at: 1:27pm MDT