After years of discussion and debate, Alexandria’s City Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution funding a collective bargaining agreement between the City of Alexandria and the local firefighters union.
The agreement includes funding for many of the problems raised by Alexandria firefighters over recent years, from long hours to improved infrastructure.
The agreement with International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 2141 (IAFF Local 2141) comes on the heels of a collective bargaining agreement approved in 2021. The agreement is the first collective bargaining agreement in Virginia between a locality and a firefighter union since 1970.
The agreements include investments in employee pay, salaries at or above market, and a framework for an annual adjustment to pay scales.
According to a release from the City of Alexandria:
- Competitive, market-rate salary increases.
- Pathway to reduced hours in the work week.
- Assurance of ongoing investments in City facilities and safety initiatives.
- Continued access to the City’s benefits package.
The total cost for the wages and other costs under the agreement is $3.5 million in fiscal year 2024 with an additional $13.9 million over the next three years. The agreement also includes a commitment to hiring more firefighters and medics; totaling a $2.4 million cost for FY 2024 and $13.5 million over the next three years.
It’s been a long road to city approval with several very vocal conflicts between IAFF Local 2141 and the city.
That conflict sometimes drove a wedge between firefighters and Fire Chief Corey Smedley, but at the City Council meeting last night city leaders and IAFF Local 2141 leadership were quick to adopt a unified posture.
“To Local 2141: I admire your tenacity as you negotiated for our department,” said Smedley. “Your hard work and determination is reflected in this agreement. We are one team, which should resonate throughout the city that we share common goals in pursuit of continuous improvement.”
City Manager James Parajon lauded the work of IAFF Local 2141, despite past disagreements between the union and the city.
“I want to recognize [IAFF Local 2141 President] Josh Turner and the rest of his bargaining unit,” said Parajon. “We talk a lot about staffing; on our partner’s side it was our firefighters doing the hard legwork it takes to do an agreement like this. That’s hard to do, especially in circumstances where many of them are working through the night and show up at bargaining sessions in the morning.”
City Council members expressed their support for the new agreement.
“One of the first groups of folks I sat down with were our firefighters and medics,” said City Council member Alyia Gaskins. “I got to hear a lot of their stories… I heard about their passion, their commitment. At the same time, probably the most painful part of the conversation is when I heard them talk about how they felt they were working for a city that didn’t want to help or serve them as much as they wanted to help.”
City Council member John Chapman got emotional in discussing the work of Alexandria firefighters and sharing appreciation for the work they put into the agreement:
My son is two years old, turning three next month, and has no less than 30 or 40 types of items related to firefighters… and it’s because you guys, to this community, are magical. Any boy or girl that sees the truck and hears the sirens going off, they turn and look with such a display of awe… Sometimes we’ve put you in a place where it’s more sacrifice than others in your industry… We don’t say this a lot to our employees, but we love you. As a young father, seeing one of you come up and talk about the time away from your family you give willingly, sometimes begrudgingly, but you do it as dedication to your craft knowing you are impacting lives. It’s so meaningful.
Turner, a captain in the Alexandria Fire Department, was one of those who had been leading the charge toward collective bargaining for years.
“It’s a very historic day,” Turner said. “The most important thing is: this contract is about our community. It speaks to the values of our community, that this is a priority, that this is a progressive community, and sets us up for success not only in the labor market but also for our department moving forward.”
COMMUNITY MEMBERS-JOIN US TOMORROW AT COUNCIL TO CELEBRATE!
After close to a year of negotiating, we've reached an agreement with the City of Alexandria. Tomorrow, Council will vote on the FIRST CBA for municipal firefighters, marshals & medics in Virginia in 40+ years!!
— IAFF Local 2141 (@IAFFLocal2141) January 23, 2023
Photo via AlexandriaVAGov/Twitter
It’s a day of happiness in Alexandria, as more than 900 Alexandria City High School seniors graduated this morning at George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena. Perhaps student speaker Lenhle Vilakati…
In some ways, it wasn’t a great week for shops around Alexandria. Three Alexandria stores had drivers crash into them this week. At the Bradlee Shopping Center, a driver was…
Westbound drivers may want to avoid Duke Street near Landmark next week as construction will shut down part of the road. The closures will affect the westbound lanes on Duke…
Parents and teachers at a School Board meeting last night said the rollout of a new plan to split specialist teachers across schools has been an unmitigated disaster. The change…
Are you seeking a confidential space where you can explore your emotions, overcome challenges, and find inner peace? Look no further than our dedicated psychotherapy service! We understand that life can be overwhelming at times, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
At Peaceful Mind Solutions, our passion lies in helping individuals like you navigate life’s complexities and find the strength to thrive. Our skilled and compassionate therapist is committed to creating a warm, non-judgmental environment where you can express your thoughts and feelings openly. With our personalized approach, we tailor each session to address your unique needs and empower you to overcome obstacles.
Through evidence-based techniques and a deep understanding of the human mind, our therapist will guide you on a transformative journey of self-discovery. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or simply seeking personal growth, we’re here to provide guidance and practical tools for lasting change.
Time flies when you’re having fun! The T.C. Williams High School Class of 1973 will hold its 50th reunion July 21-23, 2023 in Alexandria. All graduates and their adult nears and dears are welcome. Events include a Friday evening icebreaker, Saturday dinner dance, and a Sunday brunch. For more information: tcwilliams73.com, 770.789.3534.
Spring Fling at Rising Sol Yoga School
Join us for a day of FREE hot yoga. Experience our class styles and meet our teachers. Buy a bite at the Bake Sale to benefit The Carpenter’s Shelter, peruse some special vendors, take advantage of in-person only discounts on