It has been two months since the City of Brandon and its firefighters wrapped up their arbitration hearing, but there is still no word on the ruling.
In what has already been a lengthy process, those involved will just have to wait longer to see what the decision is regarding the contract dispute.
“I wish I had answers, but we’re kind of at the mercy of the arbitrator,” city manager Scott Hildebrand said.
Lawyers representing the city and Brandon Professional Firefighters/Paramedics Association each submitted their case to the arbitration board in April to arbitrator Michael Werier, along with the city’s nominee, Rob Simpson, and the union’s nominee, Alex Forrest.
The contract for Brandon firefighters ended in December 2011. The parties weren’t able to come to an agreement despite lengthy negotiations that began three years ago.
The union is asking for a 21 per cent wage increase over four years — nine per cent, six per cent, three per cent and three per cent.
The city is offering six per cent over three years, at two per cent each year.
“I do want it over, I would want this arbitration process to be complete. But at the end of the day, it’s also a good process for people to share the facts and share their side of the story,” Hildebrand said.
Union president Wade Ritchie could not be reached for comment.
The city has been keeping a close eye on rulings coming out of western Canadian provinces over the past several months. For example in Edmonton, the firefighters union ratified a six-year contract that includes wage increases of about 17 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 3, 2014