City and firefighters negotiating new contract early this time

Cory Hurley
Published on June 4, 2014

The City of Corner Brook and its firefighters have hit the negotiating table early this time around.

At the request of the city, according to International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1222 president Geoff Sparkes, negotiations began last week.

The current agreement lasts until the end of the year.

The tumultuous process of reaching that agreement is speculated as the reason why negotiations have started so early.

“They wanted to get it early and see if we could have an easier round, I am assuming,” Sparkes said Tuesday.

“We are in no rush. This time it is easier without having scheduling problems with outside lawyers involved ... It seems to be going fairly smoothly this time.”

He said discussions went well Friday, noting early talks usually do go well. They are scheduled to resume this Friday.

It was only the firefighters committee and city management representatives at the table, said Sparkes.

In February 2012, firefighters signed a contract giving them a 16 per cent wage increase over four years, which included 2011. It ended a tough negotiation that saw firefighters reject a tentative agreement and give the city a strike notice.

The content was short lived — the city, under the previous council, informed the union of four job cuts immediately after the signing of the contract.

Corner Brook Mayor Charles Pender did not respond to an interview request as of deadline.