OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWTI) — The International Association of Firefighters has rejected the City of Ogdensburg’s offer that was made in an effort to settle their staffing dispute.

Previously in January of 2022, Ogdensburg City Manager and Fire Chief Stephen P. Jellie confirmed that the City’s Fire Department had reduced its minimum daily staffing to three personnel. According to Jellie, the change was due to the City’s inability to afford higher levels of staffing based on IAFF Local 1799 and Union requirements.

On February 25 the City presented an offer to the IAFF which stated what amendments would have to be made for the city to be able to afford four personnel on duty each work shift for the remainder of 2022. The City also stated that if their proposal was approved it would allow the city to increase the minimum staffing to five personnel on duty for each work shift in 2023.

The City claimed that in order to make the increased staffing model work the City would need the IAFF to give the City the right to abolish positions and modify the FD organizational structure. The City’s proposed structure would rank as follows, one Chief as a non-bargaining unit position, one Deputy Chief as a non-bargaining unit position, four Captains, and 16 Firefighters for the duration of the current contract.  

The City also requested the IAFF reduce hazard pay for the City’s firefighters to $3 an hour for the remainder of 2022 as long as daily minimum staffing did not drop below four. Additionally, it was proposed that the City eliminate hazard pay from 2023 until 2025 as long as daily minimum staffing did not drop.

The City also proposed that they reduce from two firefighters or fire officers on scheduled vacation or comp block leave per day to just one firefighter or fire officer. Lastly, the City requested they be allowed to forego the EMT Stipend from 2022 to 2025.

However, on March 2 of 2022 IAFF Local 1799 rejected the offer. More information on the offer and the City of Ogdensburg’s stance on firefighter staffing can be found on the City’s website.