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Lockport firefighters take raises, give up fight to restore ambulances

City of Lockport firefighters accepted the privatization of city ambulance service in a new contract ratified this week.

The city will pay 33 union members $6,000 each in exchange for the union's decision to drop litigation over the 2014 privatization. However, in July, the Fire Department will resume offering paramedic service on major rescue calls, union president Samuel G. Oakes said.

The new contract contains pay raises of 4.5 percent this year, 3 percent in 2018 and either 1.5 percent or 2 percent per year from 2019 through 2028. New hires will begin paying 15 percent of their health insurance premiums.

The sides were unable to settle litigation over reduction of minimum staffing levels from nine to six firefighters per shift. The votes in favor of the contract were 21-8 by the union Monday and 4-1 by the Council Wednesday.

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