The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board of Supervisors has approved the new Reedy Creek Fire Department contract. The CFTOD Board and fire department reached an agreement last week after negotiations had reopened the month before.
Reedy Creek Fire Department Contract
The Reedy Creek Fire Department’s union members had originally voted to approve a new employment contract in May. But after information about this lucrative contract leaked, District Administrator Glen Gilzean, Jr. reopened negotiations.
An agreement regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions has since been reached for the A Unit of the Reedy Creek Professional Firefighters Association IAFF 2117. It has been backdated to January 1, 2023, and will remain in place through 2025.
This agreement does not cover leadership positions such as chief, commander, and supervisor, which will be negotiated separately. Below are the starting wages for the positions the agreement does cover:
- EMT/Firefighter: $56,000
- Paramedic/Firefighter: $66,000
- Lieutenant: $73,000
- Engineer: $69,500
- Plans Examiner: $60,800
- Fire Inspector: $55,900
- Assistant Supervisor: $53,600
- EMS Team Paramedic: $53,500
- Dispatcher: $50,600
- EMS Team EMT: $45,400
The union will still need to vote to approve the contract.
Reedy Creek Firefighters & CFTOD
Reedy Creek Fire District first responders initially expressed alarm last spring in the wake of Governor Ron DeSantis’ plan to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, stating their lifetime Disney passes and lifelong health insurance were at risk as a result.
But as Governor DeSantis’ plan shifted from a dissolution to a takeover, the fire department became outspoken proponents for the decision.
Tim Stromsnes, communications director of the Reedy Creek Professional Firefighters Local 2117 union, told the Orlando Sentinel earlier this year in the face of the CFTOD takeover “Anything has got to be better than what we currently have. We really hope that this new board will bring the morale up for Reedy Creek [and] will make us an elite emergency services department again. We’ve got our faith in the governor that we’re going to be around and that it’s going to be a better place to work.”
The union had a rocky relationship with Disney, who appointed all five seats on the old Reedy Creek Improvement District’s Board of Supervisors. Their focus was on the theme park business and union members allege the Board didn’t care much for actual employees of the District, including first responders like firefighters.
Reportedly, fire trucks and rescue units broke down on multiple occasions, forcing responders to arrive on the scene in SUVs. Staffing also remained inadequately low. Disney and Reedy Creek both aggressively denied these claims.
The old union contract expired four years ago and they had not been able to negotiate a new one with the previous Board.
Shirey said earlier this year that prior to the CFTOD Board’s takeover, the union “had gotten zero momentum in moving this thing any closer to being signed. There’s a huge level of relief. We have a level of open communication dialogue that we’ve never experienced before here.” (via WESH)