By FLO JONIC
PROVIDENCE, RI – The Providence Firefighters Union has agreed to nearly six million dollars worth of concessions to avoid the layoffs that are facing the Police Department.
Among other things, Providence firefighters have agreed to forego a three percent raise, to defer retroactive pay, to more than double their health insurance co-shares and to give up a week of paid vacation.
All this to avoid the dozens of layoffs facing the Police Department which has been unable to cut a similar deal to the cash-strapped capital city $6 million. Mayor Angel Taveras praised the firefighters for their sacrifice.
"Well I'm just very proud of our firefighters and their willingness to come to the table and support the city in this difficult time. This was not easy. It took a lot of work. I'm just very proud of them."
The concessions also include a reduction in minimum staffing levels, and delayed pension benefits for new hires. Firefighters union president Paul Doughty said while the cuts represent a hardship for many in the department they will keep people working.
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