SAN ANTONIO (February 13, 2020) — Today, the arbitration panel, made up of retired Judge John J. Specia, Jr., local attorney Phil Pfeiffer and labor lawyer Mike Tedesco, issued a final award in the matter of the City of San Antonio's collective bargaining agreement with the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Union.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg provided the following statement:
"This is an opportunity to set aside the conflicts that have consumed our community and frayed relationships over the last six years.
This City functions best when City Hall and first responders work together as a team. We intend to take this opportunity for a fresh start and move forward.
I want to commend City Manager Erik Walsh and his team along with my City Council colleagues for working collaboratively through this difficult process."
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City Manager Erik Walsh provided the following statement:
"We believe the arbitration panel reached an award that was fair to both firefighters and taxpayers. The City met our goals. The award allows the City to appropriately balance the cost of public safety with other City Council and community priorities.
This award keeps San Antonio firefighters among the best compensated in the state, and it is well deserved. We are nationally accredited and one of the best fire departments in the country. Our firefighters are dedicated to serving our community every day.
We would like to thank the panel for their time and consideration of this matter. The arbitrators faced a challenging task to carefully weigh the evidence and testimony provided during the arbitration hearing.
We also appreciate that both parties approached the arbitration in good faith and demonstrated professionalism and courtesy during the process. However, we hope that this marks the first and only time that the City and its public safety unions use binding arbitration to reach a collective bargaining agreement. We would prefer to negotiate contracts with our public safety unions at the bargaining table.
We hope this new collective bargaining agreement can move us forward to a positive working relationship with the fire union."
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