Dear Hoboken residents:
Recently, the Hoboken Fire Department and its local bargaining union have attempted to negotiate a fair deal to benefit our members and also put forth a substantial savings for the city. In the last couple of attempts to meet and put forth an honest effort to secure such a deal, the city has canceled on us with no reason given. In fact, several “good faith” letters have been sent to the City of Hoboken in order to secure a date and time to no avail.
The union members fully understand the fiscal situation in which this town finds itself in. They also emphasize, but they also know that they are not at fault for such a financial unraveling. Hoboken has always used its fire department as escape goats when things went wrong. Time and time again, administration after administration, have come to the union to help bail them out in terms of contractual concessions and aid in the city producing such a document. Those types of deals and efforts by the fire department unions go unmentioned far too often. We have asked several times what the city was looking for in terms of concessions and also asked what the city was willing to give. Negotiating is a give and take approach until both sides agree upon a fair deal for all. We know health care is a prime issue and we agreed through a proposal to restructure our medical benefits without jeopardizing our member’s health and with a substantial savings for the city. In fact, Mayor Zimmer and certain other council members have stated “we shouldn’t be getting anything and should be giving back everything.” This is not how negotiations work.
If you have either attended or watched the city council meetings of late, the council has, on a couple of occasions, gone into “closed” session in order to talk about the status of the union negotiations. Talk about your transparent process; it is ones imagination as to what is talked about in those closed sessions, because they know full well nothing has happened in recent weeks due to the fact that they refuse to meet with us. This is the reason for this letter, to inform the public that Local 1078, which represent the fire fighters of this town, have sent many letters seeking a meeting to strike a fair deal. Because our letters have gone unanswered we are left with no choice but to file for binding arbitration, which would otherwise affect the substantial amount of money this city would have saved on a yearly basis.
Yours in public safety,
Vincent Depinto, President
Andrew Frey, State Representative