The City of Naples led the first round in the real-life game of “Let’s Make a Deal” offering a contract proposal to the Naples firefighter’s union on Tuesday. It looks to be at least a week away before a final offer with losses for union members continuing at least another couple years.
The city’s proposal would increase working hours for a disproportionate 3 percent increase in pay, decrease pension benefits and increase health insurance costs by as much as three times what some employees pay now.
“If you’re saying this is your final offer, say ‘final offer.’ That will be that,” said Adam Nadelman, president of the Naples firefighters union to Assistant City Manager Roger Reinke after hearing the proposal.
Pension benefits would decrease from 4 percent to a 3 percent multiplier and the retirement age would increase from 55 to 60, or from 25 years of service to 30 years.
The city is preferring to go back to 1999 benefit levels and declining to take a state contribution because it would require increasing those benefits, Reinke said.
Firefighters would continue to pay 5 percent of their pay into the pension.
“Is this our final offer? No, but it’s probably pretty close,” Reinke said. Kelly days, which are 24-hour shifts that firefighters currently take off every six weeks, may be taken away. This increases their average work week from 52 hours to 56 hours.
It’s equivalent to hiring three more firefighters, Reinke said.
“You can keep the 3 percent (pay increase). I’d rather have my Kelly days,” Nadelman said.
Changes in health benefits also looked bleak.
The city is changing their contributions for individual health plans from 95 percent to 85 percent for all employees.
The city would save $200,000 annually, spending $5.1 million, by eliminating plan options, Reinke said.
The city’s costs have increased dramatically this past year, he said.
“Since we’re self-insured, the biggest component is the claims we’ve paid,” Reinke said. “We’re talking catastrophic illnesses, including cancer, some that have been fatal.”
The city didn’t share several dollar figures that Nadelman said he wanted before making a counter-offer.
“We’ll have something tomorrow, but I’m not sure we’ll have a proposal perse because I’m tangled in some of these numbers,” said Nadelman.
Negotiations are to resume 10 a.m. today in City Hall. The current three-year contract expires Sept. 30.