A divisive, protracted labor dispute between the City of Boston and its firefighters has come to a long-awaited resolution, with the two sides having reached a deal over a new contract.
The announcement of the deal, which follows a long day of negotiating, came at a rare late-night meeting of the City Council Tuesday, hours before the council was set to vote on a controversial arbitration award for the firefighters that has divided councilors and many residents of the city.
Under the new agreement, which was signed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Edward Kelly, president of the firefighters union, the firefighters have a five-year deal, stretching from 2006 to 2011. Firefighters will get a 2.5 percent raise on Jan. 1, and they will get a 1.5 percent raise in exchange for drug and alcohol testing, beginning in 12 months. That is lower than the 2.5 percent raise called for in the award, a provision that has drawn the most controversy.
The city also agreed to eliminate a separate wage deferral as part of the deal, and future hires in the Fire Department will join a new wellness initiative that includes regular physicals.
The City Council still has to formally approve the deal today, but that is all but assured after Tuesday night's announcement.
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