Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight unanimously approved an eight-year fire pension fund in which employee contributions are expected to save the town $40 million over the next 20 years.
The pension agreement between the Town of Westport and Local 1081 International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO is retroactive from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2024.
According to Floyd Dugas, town labor counsel, the fund includes a hybrid plan that includes reduced benefits and defined contributions for new hires.
A stumbling block for the agreement that had been in negotiations for more than a year was resolved as the rank and file agreed to a reduction of employee contributions from 10 to 9 percent, Dugas said.
The RTM also approved by a vote of 32 to 0 with 1 abstention a collective bargaining agreement between the town and Local 1081 for July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021, appropriating $200,000 to the 2017-18 fiscal year budget.
Separate from the pension fund, the new contract provides for a 2.5 percent pay increase the first year, 2.24 percent the second and 2.5 percent for the last two years, according to Dugas.
Dugas added that firefighters will be contributing 11 though 14 percent of their salary toward health insurance over the length of the contract.
“Overall, I think it is an agreement consistent with the public sector and public safety,” Dugas said.
— James Lomuscio