The City of Providence plans to increase firefighters' base pay by eight percent as part of the slated Sunday implementation of a different platoon structure meant to reduce overtime spending by millions of dollars a year.
During a Friday afternoon news conference, Mayor Jorge Elorza said firefighters can get a more generous pay increase -- 33 percent --- if they agree to a plan to increase their average weekly hours, from 42 to 56.
Effective Sunday morning, the city plans to cut the number of daily platoons from four to three. Elorza said the plan will eventually save Providence between $5 million and $7 million in annual overtime costs.
Paul Doughty, the president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 799, declined comment for now on the latest development.
Elorza said the more generous offer will remain on the table until 5 p,m. Saturday. “I’ve made an offer of 33 percent increase in their salary, in return for 33 percent more hours worked," he said. "They have rejected that, but I hope they will reconsider it."
The 33 percent increase would not count toward firefighters' pensions, the mayor said.
Elorza announced in May his intention to cut daily platoon from four to three.
Firefighters are trying to block the move in court; a status hearing is slated for Monday in Superior Court.
Elorza points to a North Kingstown case in arguing Providence has the legal authority to change firefighters' platoon structure.