Coatesville signs 3-year agreement with firefighter union

The new contract between the city and Coatesville Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 3790 establishes wage increases and better recruitment efforts.

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fire truck

Coatesville Fire Department truck (Coatesville Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 3790)

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The city of Coatesville and a union representing its firefighters recently struck a three-year deal, addressing pay raises, full- and part-time labor issues and recruitment efforts.

This is the first time in 25 years that the city and Coatesville Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 3790 have been able to sign a contract without going to arbitration.

“Through the collective give and take from both sides, we were able to make it a reality,” said Michael Boub, union president and city firefighter in Tuesday’s press release. “This was all done while keeping the safety of our residents and firefighters the number one priority.”

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Founded in 1871, the Coatesville Fire Department has a storied history. It is staffed by both career and volunteer firefighters. Like fire companies nationwide, suburban fire companies, including that of Coatesville, are experiencing staffing shortages and funding woes.

“We feel this new agreement signifies our pledge to honor their selfless dedication.” Coatesville city manager James Logan said in Tuesday’s announcement.

City Council signed the union contract at its May 13 public meeting — which came less than a month after officials greenlit an ordinance to centralize fire personnel at the Washington Hose Company to allow for better coordination between fire and EMS personnel.

With Brandywine Hospital closed and the nearest comprehensive medical center many miles away, every second counts, officials said.

“Considering that they’re running into fires when we residents are running out, their safety is as important as ours,” council president Linda Lavender Norris said. “Having relocated our firefighters and equipment under one roof allows for a safer and more cohesive department.”

officials sitting at a table with documents
Coatesville officials with union leaders signing firefighter contract. (Courtesy of the city of Coatesville)

The latest union contract is seen by city officials and union representatives as a positive step forward. The contract offers more opportunities for the department to promote from within and provides for more firefighters per shift.

“Staffing and subsequent financial challenges are real for our department, and it was the will of the respective bargaining committees, City Council and the City’s firefighters to create a plan that was not only fiscally responsible, but that had real positive impact,” battalion chief and union vice president Jim Lentz said. “It is a great day for the City of Coatesville, its residents and its firefighters.”

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