Barre: Union talks promising
BARRE — Thanks to the help of a federal mediator, negotiations between the city and members of its fire and ambulance department appear to be back on track.
“We think we made significant progress,” City Manager Steve Mackenzie said shortly after a mediation session that spanned nearly five hours broke up late Thursday afternoon.
Although Cynthia Jeffries, a commissioner with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, wasn’t able to talk the two sides into a settlement, she was able to break the impasse that prompted both sides to request her assistance.
Mackenzie said he is guardedly optimistic a settlement could be reached when face-to-face negotiations resume Feb. 7.
“We have scheduled one more (bargaining) session, and I hope we can resolve this then,” he said.
The city’s 17 union firefighters have been working under the terms of a one-year contract that expired nearly seven months ago. When an agreement is reached, the new contract will be applied retroactively to last July 1.
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