New labor agreement has reaching with firefighters’ union that addresses some of the concerns that were raising in an investigation. This occurring six months after there was a promise made to address systemic racism with our city fire department.
In fact, the proposed contract with Local 42 from the department of the International Association of Fire Fighters would, for instance, end a practice that keeps Black firefighters from choice assignments at busy stations. Moreover, white firefighters short-circuit the seniority system, union and city officials say.
There is a temporary ban on the practice of trading assignments. Chief Donna Lake has initiated this. It would be without regard to seniority after many predominantly minority neighborhoods were serving by mostly all-white fire crews. In fact, the new contract would make that change permanent.
Labor Contract: Key Elements
Creating the new position of diversity and recruitment officer whose primary job is to make the department better to resemble the community it serves is among the other key elements of the contract. Nearly 30 percent of the population is black in this city. 14 percent of its firefighters are, in fact, black. They do represent an ever-lower percentage at upper ranks. This is in part due to a promotional system that in multiple court cases has been accusing of having a racial bias.
Contract: Damning Lawsuits
Kansas City, in the last 20 years, had paid $2.75 million in judgements, attorney’s fees, court costs and litigation expenses in lawsuits from employees who accused the department of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
The fire department is actively looking for a consultant which is separate from the agreement. It would be to design and administer the promotional examinations that determine which firefighters will become crew captains.
Contract Goal to Help More Minorities get Certification
Helping more minorities get certification through this contract calling for a firefighter-paramedic apprentice project. In fact, the city will also pay for annual training in “diversity, inclusion and sexual harassment. This is according to Local 42. Moreover, it was previously was done here and there.