After months of negotiating, the Carpentersville firefighters union and village officials have reached a new collective bargaining agreement extending through 2019.
The village board and the Carpentersville Professional Firefighters Union, IAFF Local 4790, voted this month to ratify the contract, which is retroactive to May 1. Negotiations had been ongoing since February, and the two parties were able to reach an agreement without arbitration, "which is where we thought we were headed," said Jeffrey Monteleone, senior management analyst and lead negotiator for the village. "Both parties saw it appropriate to get back together, find a way to hash it out, and we managed to come to a compromise," he said.
The deal includes a 1.75 percent wage increase for the first eight months and a 2.25 percent raise in 2017, according to village documents.
Mirroring a recent contract with Carpentersville police officers, firefighters' salaries for 2018 and 2019 have not yet been determined and will be negotiated toward the end of 2017, Monteleone said.
"(This way), we didn't necessarily hamstring the taxpayers to a long, drawn out obligation when we don't really know what our finances will look like after 2017," he said.
The union also agreed to a reduced pay rate for off-duty firefighters performing certain activities that fall outside the scope of fighting fires and responding to calls, union President Rick Nieves said. Examples include off-duty meetings, CPR instructional courses, maintenance work and public education -- activities that make up about 20 percent of the department's overtime, Monteleone said.
Illinois Daily Herald
Four drivers escaped a massive fire on I-55 Monday morning, but one driver is dead after two semi-tractor trailers and three cars caught fire near the Pulaski Road exit.
The driver who died was in a minivan beneath one of the trucks, police said.
One of the trucks was carrying 17,800 pounds of paint, according to State Police, and the other was hauling 40,000 pounds of frozen meat. Both trucks were reduced to charred, melted husks after the fire.
The accident took place just before 11 a.m. and was fully extinguished by noon. State Police are still investigating the accident, but the trucks reportedly collided with each other.
A hazmat response was called, and a Chicago Fire Department crew dispatched from Midway Airport hit the trucks with foam to put out the blazing trailer fires. Five ambulances were dispatched to the scene.
Traffic remains backed up for miles, and the outbound lanes of I-55 remain closed. This post will be updated with further developments.
Carol Stream firefighter-paramedics will receive 2.5 percent annual salary increases under a tentative three-year contract agreement union members have ratified.
The proposed pact also would give lieutenants 2.75 percent pay raises in each year of the deal, retroactive to June 1. Carol Stream Fire Protection District trustees are expected to approve the proposed contract on Aug. 8.
Earlier this month, 41 of the union's 46 members voted in favor of ratifying the agreement, said Lt. Rick Bonk, president of the Carol Stream Firefighters Association Local 3192.
Negotiations began in March and a federal mediator later facilitated a bargaining session in early July that "got the bulk of economic issues settled," Bonk said.
Bonk called the proposed contract a "fair agreement" that also would increase an education allowance -- by $500 to $1,500 -- for training seminars and classes.
"I thought they went very well," newly appointed Fire Chief Bob Hoff said of the talks. "The board and the union were very reasonable. It was a very good environment."
The former deputy chief, Hoff was promoted in June, about four months after Rick Kolomay announced he was retiring from the district's top post because of a shoulder injury.
Illinois Daily Herald
Peoria firefighters are called to a blaze in the 1700 block of S. Livingston Tuesday morning.
When they arrived on scene they say the structure was fully involved.
No one was inside at the time.
An investigator was called to the scene to determine a cause.
No other details were immediately available.
A vacant home goes up in flames in Rockford and investigators believe it was intentional.
It happened just after 5:30am Monday in the 3000 block of Marshall Street. Fire investigators say it started in the basement and spread to the rest of the house. Arson is suspected in the second such case in just three days.
"Every one is unique and every one is different," said Division Chief Matthew Knott of the Rockford Fire Department. "We don't see a trend that develops with all these being tied together."
Chief Knott says Monday's fire is the 15th vacant home fire this year, that's more than double what the department saw up to this point in 2015.