Last-Minute Rescue Plan Could Save SJ Firefighters

Back to the bargaining table Wednesday

There could be hope for nearly 50 San Jose Firefighters who lost their jobs over the weekend because of budget cuts.

The city of San Jose and the firefighters' union have agreed to return to the bargaining table Wednesday to discuss a new proposal to find a way to bring back at least some of those positions.

The union on Sunday sent the new proposal to the city, which included eliminating a demand on the city to guarantee to not layoff any firefighters.

 "We're cautiously optimistic. They didn't reject our proposal." said union spokesman Tom Saggau. "This is a step in the right  direction."

The new proposal also includes a two-tiered retirement package, which would change the retirement benefits for new hires, but not for existing employees.

With the new concessions and the changes in the deployment model plan presented by the new fire chief-Chief William McDonald -- who started on the job just Monday, Saggau believes the money saved should be enough to "buy back as many firefighters as they can."

Alex Gurza, San Jose director of employee relations, said the new proposal was basically just a repackaging of the union's earlier proposal and still doesn't meet the city's gap.

Wednesday's meeting is set for 2 p.m.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Contact Us