(March 27, 2007) Mount Vernon firefighters have reached an agreement which will provide them with greater retiree health care benefits, as well as salary increases totaling 14% through the term of the contract, and substantial increases in the amount of EMT and First Responder stipends for active firefighters announced Richard Corenthal, a partner in Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., who represents the Uniformed Firefighters Association of the City of Mount Vernon Local 107 IAFF. “The City’s agreement is a breakthrough achievement for the members who depend on health benefits after they retire,” said the firefighters’ attorney Corenthal. “These retiree health benefits represent a big gain for the members given the rising cost of healthcare today.”
“This agreement provides important new retiree health benefits as well as substantial salary gains for Westchester’s bravest,” said Noah Lighty, President of the Mount Vernon Uniformed Fire Fighters Association. “Firefighters deserve the best healthcare and our members especially need quality healthcare after they retire after a career of life-threatening work on behalf of Mount Vernon’s residents. This agreement makes it possible for our members to obtain the important retiree health benefits they need to protect themselves and their families.”
According to Mr. Corenthal, the City’s share of retiree health premiums will almost double from approximately 42% to 80% depending on length of service. Salary increases through the agreement total 14% with annual stipends for First Responders increasing from $400 pre-2007 to $800 in 2007, $1200 in 2008 and $1600 in 2009. EMT stipends increase from $600 pre-2007 to $1000 in 2007, $1400 in 2008 and $1800 in 2009. The top pay of a Mount Vernon Firefighter will exceed $76,000 with the negotiated salary increases.
The Mount Vernon Fire Department is over a century old, and the firefighting staff serves a city of 4.2 square miles and protects over 68,000 residents from four fire stations on a 24-hour, 365-day basis. The Mount Vernon Fire Department responds to over 5,000 calls annually, of which the majority are fire, EMS or a hazardous condition.
Mr. Corenthal is an attorney with experience in a wide range of areas involving labor and employment matters representing public -and private-sector labor unions. The Meyer Suozzi firm is a nationally respected leader in labor and employment as well as in areas of law that include tax certiorari, personal injury, General Municipal Law Sector 205-a claims, employment, zoning and real estate, trust and estates, litigation and appeals.