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Boston City Council OKs Firefighters Contract After Deal

Listen: WBUR's Fred Thys On The Dealhttp://audio.wbur.org/storage/2010/06/news_0609_thys-debrief.mp3

Late Tuesday night, Boston firefighters and the city reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that ended years of contentious negotiations.

The contract was subsequently ratified by Boston City Council early Wednesday afternoon, by a 12-1 vote.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino had balked at an arbitrator's decision to grant firefighters a retroactive 19 percent wage increase over four years, including 2.5 percent in exchange for agreeing to mandatory drug and alcohol testing.

Firefighter Negotiations Timeline:

Menino and some city councilors said the city could not afford a raise of that size.

Under the agreement reached late Tuesday, the bonus for agreeing to drug testing was reduced to 1.5 percent and deferred until the 2011 fiscal year, saving the city millions of dollars.

The firefighters union and Menino agreed the deal was a responsible one.

"It's a contract that the city can live with and that's affordable and it protects the taxpayers of Boston," Menino told WBUR.

City Councilor Robert Consalvo said the new agreement will save money and save lives.

Councilor Chuck Turner was the lone dissenting vote. He has said firefighters shouldn't receive a raise for drug and alcohol testing.

This program aired on June 9, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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