The Village of Franklin Park in Illinois will settle their latest contract dispute with firefighters using arbitration, after six months of traditional negotiations and further efforts involving standard mediation techniques have failed to yield a workable agreement, despite settling a long list of issues. The Village has just concluded another lengthy negotiation with the police union, which resulted in a contract.
The village’s contract with Local 1526 of the International Association of Firefighters expired in April, and meetings commenced immediately. The informal talks proceeded until September, when both sides entered voluntary mediation in an attempt to bring about a resolution. After two mediation sessions, there were still too many outstanding issues to settle, and so arbitration is the next step.
Neither side has specified what issues are preventing an agreement from being reached, and both sides have indicated that negotiations to this point have been civil and friendly, just unable to completely settle all issues. Village President Barrett Pedersen described the deal offered to the firefighters as “better” than the deal they recently made with the police union, though again he declined to discuss specifics.
Both the union and the village will get to approve the choice of arbitrators. The process is expected to begin in about two months after all the details of the process are settled, and the firefighters union will continue to function under the terms of the old contract until the new contract is finalized, as is traditional in these circumstances.