Mayor Jean Stothert has tweaked her offer to the Omaha fire union, agreeing to hold off on layoffs and keep rigs in service for a year, so long as the Fire Department slashes the size of its paramedic training program.
The proposal, released Tuesday evening, comes with an ultimatum: Agree to this deal by Friday, or 19 firefighters will lose their jobs on Jan. 4.
It's a slight variation from the plan Stothert offered one day earlier, which did not come with any guarantees for keeping rigs in service.
Stothert said she would hold off on layoffs or pulling rigs from service in 2015 if the department stays within one-half percent of its $90.6 million budget in 2014.
But while the mayor had given the union nearly two months to reach a deal, Tuesday's offer came with a quicker timeline. In a letter to union President Steve LeClair, Mark McQueen, the attorney representing the city, said the deal would be off the table after noon Friday.
McQueen wrote that a proposal offered by LeClair late Monday was “not acceptable.” The union has said it would trim the paramedic training class, but wanted a guarantee of no layoffs and no rigs pulled from service for the life of the contract — not just the next two years.
LeClair could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
In a statement issued Monday, he said the union was willing to get the budget in line.
And LeClair said Stothert has agreed to a no-layoff clause in the contract when she voted on the deal.
“Apparently she thought it was good policy when she was running for office but now that she has been elected, she would rather play politics than treat people fairly,” he wrote Monday.
In his letter Tuesday, McQueen pushed back, saying that “I strongly disagree” with the “hyperbole and personal attacks” in LeClair's statement.
Stothert maintained that she would not agree to extended layoff protections, no matter the deal.
“The union's offer would put unnecessary restrictions on our ability to manage and staff the Omaha Fire Department,” she said.