Mayor discovers loophole on firefighters union president's salary
Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 9:19AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, June 21, 2018 5:29PM CST
You could call it an escape clause.
Mayor Brian Bowman said he may have found a way out of a contract, where taxpayers are on the hook for the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg President’s salary.
"I've been reviewing it with a lot of scrutiny to better understand it," said Bowman.
Since early 2014 the city has subsidized 60% of Alex Forrest's wages and benefits, and 100% prior to that, even though he's a full time union boss.
Now Mayor Bowman said he's discovered a loophole in the 2017 contract between the city and the fire fighters.
"It presents an opportunity for the public service and for UFFW to arrive at an agreement representing a better deal for taxpayers,” said Bowman.
Bowman said attached to the contract is a letter which he says requires an updated agreement on the salary provision between the city and the union.
The letter states: “The parties agree that they will come to an agreement regarding union president leave and reimbursement."
Bowman said that was never done, so through Council he wants a directive sent to city officials to re-negotiate with Forrest. Bowman's goal is clear: "100 percent reimbursement from UFFW which is consistent with every other union that we bargain with," said Bowman.
Alex Forrest declined an on camera interview, but in a statement he said if the city wants to reopen a part of the contract over concerns, the union is willing to listen.
"We are always open to trying to figure a solution," said Forrest.
But Forrest also believes, based on a 2014 agreement, his wage clause is set in stone.
It stated: "For the remainder of the time in which the current president Alex Forrest, remains as president of UFFW."