If the new union that represents Bellevue’s part-time firefighters had a few more dollars in its war chest, members might not have accepted their first two-year contract with the city.
Legal fees for taking the pact to arbitration before the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations would have cost between $30,000 and $50,000, said Larry Chandler, president of the Bellevue Firefighters Association.
So a majority of the union’s 106 members voted to accept Bellevue’s pay offer of between $11.50 per hour and $13.34 per hour. The union had requested a pay range about $2 higher.
“The way I see it was ‘Go to the CIR or take the city deal,’” Chandler said. “We couldn’t afford to go after a fair wage.”