Ogdensburg amendments to settle staffing dispute rejected by International Association of Fire Fighters

OGDENSBURG, NY (WWTI) – The International Association of Fire Fighters has rejected the City of Ogdensburg’s offer that was made in an effort to settle their personnel dispute.

Previously, in January 2022, Ogdensburg City Manager and Fire Chief Stephen P. Jellie confirmed that the city’s fire department had reduced its minimum daily complement to three people. According to Jellie, the change was due to the city’s inability to afford higher staffing levels based on the demands of IAFF Local 1799 and the Union.

On February 25, the city submitted an offer to the IAFF that outlined what changes would need to be made so that the city could afford four on-duty employees per shift for the remainder of 2022. The city also said that if their proposal was approved, it would allow the city to increase the minimum staff complement to five people on duty for each shift in 2023.

The city claimed that for the increased staffing model to work, the city would need the AIP to give the city the right to abolish positions and change the organizational structure of the DF. The structure proposed by the City would be classified as follows: one chief as a non-bargaining unit position, one assistant chief as a non-bargaining unit position, four captains and 16 firefighters for the duration of the current contract.

The city also asked the IAFF to reduce hazard pay for city firefighters to $3 an hour for the remainder of 2022, provided the minimum daily complement does not fall below four. Additionally, it has been proposed that the City eliminate hazard pay from 2023 to 2025 as long as the minimum daily headcount does not drop.

The City has also proposed reducing the number of firefighters or fire officers on vacation or on compensatory leave per day to just one firefighter or fire officer. Finally, the city asked to be allowed to waive the EMT allowance from 2022 to 2025.

However, on March 2, 2022, IAFF Local 1799 rejected the offer. More information on the offer and the City of Ogdensburg’s position on firefighter staffing can be found at the City website.

Andrew B. Reiter