City raises wage for South Bend Fire Department

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Common Council met on Monday, voting on bills to approve salary increases for city employees, which included the South Bend Fire Department. Firefighters argued that this raise was not enough.

The city offered a 2.25% wage increase for the South Bend Fire Department, which is less than the city standard increase.

The department argues that this increase is not large enough if the department, one of the busiest in the state, wants to remain competitive in hiring talented recruits and retaining employees.

Negotiations between the city and the department have stalled. The bill has since been amended to be just for 2022, instead of the next three year in order to have a contract in place.

The South Bend Common Council voted to approve that bill for 2022, giving firefighters a minimum wage of around $15.

“This is my third negotiation with the city, and this has been by far the most frustrating one yet. We’re not asking for the world. We’re trying to remain on the same equal and level footing as our other public safety entity in the city, and with what’s currently proposed, we would be well over five-grand behind them,” Ryan Takacs, SBFD firefighter, said.

Several other firefighters felt the same, as the starting wage at some local fast food restaurants is well above the $15 wage, which the department is currently at.

With this bill approved, the fire department can still continue to negotiate and if a new deal is reached in time, and they could still see those benefits in the next year.

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