November 11, 2021
The City of South Bend has reached a wage agreement with South Bend Firefighter Local 362 as part of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement for South Bend Fire Department firefighters.
“Our high performing fire service has my utmost respect and appreciation for the work our firefighters do each and every day to keep us safe,” said Mayor James Mueller. “I’m glad that we were able to offer them the best wage and pension base package in terms of percentage increases in twenty years.”
The new agreement, still contingent on Common Council approval, would raise the base wages of First Class Firefighters to $66,717 by 2024, an 8.5 percent increase over three years compared to the current 2021 level of $61,505.
The tentative agreement also expands the pension base for firefighters to $75,017, a 15.5 percent increase over three years from the current pension base of $64,905. The deal also increases the City residency incentive for firefighters from $400 per year to $2,500 per year and funds a post-employment health plan for firefighters after they retire.
“Reaching an agreement was essential for a multitude of reasons, and I couldn’t be any prouder of both sides for getting this done. Our firefighters provide residents with high-quality services 24 hours a day and 365 days a year,” said Fire Chief Carl Buchanon. “Our firefighters have served with distinction throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and I look forward to the South Bend Fire Department continuing to showcase our professionalism and excellent service as we move forward together to achieve our goal of being better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today.”
Local 362 members overwhelmingly approved the package with a vote of 187 members in favor and 16 against.
The South Bend Fire Department and the City of South Bend recently received a Class I Public Protection Classification rating from ISO (Insurance Services Office), the highest rating possible, and puts the department in the top 1 percent nationally in fire suppression capabilities.