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Houston Firefighters Union Suing The City

Mayor Sylvester Turner has previously said the pension board is hurting the people it represents.

Houston’s firefighters union sued the city today, arguing that officials have been playing “hard ball” and “not bargaining in good faith” on a new contract. They are asking the court to intervene to resolve the dispute by sending the parties to arbitration.

“What we are seeking is simply fair treatment and what the City has done is negotiate in bad faith,” told Houston Public Media Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Firefighters Association.

It is the latest salvo in a long-running dispute between the city and firefighters.

A new law passed by the legislature earlier this year was the culmination of a years-long effort by the city of Houston to address its pension liabilities. In the fall, all city pension boards – police, municipal and fire – agreed to a framework. But the fire pension board backed out before the final deal was introduced in the Legislature.

Then the board sued, claiming the law passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott is unconstitutional.

Mayor Sylvester Turner has previously said the pension board is hurting the people it represents.

Lancton detailed that the union’s goal is a three-year contract with salary raises amounting to 17 percent, but Turner noted during Wednesday’s City Council meeting that the highest pay raise Houston can afford is 9.5 percent over three years and described that offer as the City’s “maximum position.”

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