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After 10 months of negotiations, the City and Local Firefighters Union 742 reached an agreement for a two-year contract. Under the new agreement, wages will increase 2 percent the first year and 2.25 percent the second year, said Fire Chief Greg Klaiber.

Depending on the particular health-insurance plan, firefighters will contribute up to 10 percent of the premium, but firefighters who satisfy the requirements of a fitness incentive in the contract will receive $500 to be spent on health insurance, he added.

Negotiations began in November of last year, and the previous contract expired in January of this year, said Chief Klaiber. He told the RoundTable, “Members of the Evanston Firefighters Association worked under the terms of the existing contract until we settled.  That’s how it works with all of our collective bargaining agreement negotiations.”

At the formal signing of the agreement at the fire station at 909 Lake St., City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said, “Things have not always been warm and fuzzy, and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the members of the fire department. … This agreement is an example of the good part of collective bargaining.” He said the City would “make sure there are proper training facilities and [make] sure the equipment we’re buying” is safe and appropriate.

Brian Scott, who headed the negotiating team for the firefighters said, “This is proof positive that collective bargaining works.”

Chief Klaiber said, “I value and appreciate the excellent relationship I have with Union 742. Having been a member of that union for 24 years I think was helpful [in the negotiating process].”