Alexandria, VA Local 2141 became the first Virginia IAFF affiliate in more than four decades to ratify a contract with its employer when the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously Jan. 24 to approve the historic agreement.
“Congratulations to our Alexandria 2141 members on a job well done,” said General President Edward Kelly. “First contracts do not come easy, and the road to victory was not short, but that never dissuaded them.”
“Local 2141 President Josh Turner and his team did an outstanding job bargaining their first contract,” said 4th District Vice President Andrew Pantelis. “I am very proud of all their hard work. You have paved the way for our other Virginia affiliates to follow suit.”
The Virginia state Supreme Court ruled collective bargaining unconstitutional in 1977. Recent lobbying efforts by the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters led to legislation allowing local governments to create ordinances recognizing their employees’ labor unions, thereby allowing collective bargaining for public workers.
The newly approved agreement will be effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2026.
“Collective bargaining has created a path for labor and management to discuss and resolve issues,” said Turner, the local president. “We believe that the provisions of this contract show that we all want to serve our community by ensuring that resources are in place to keep the citizens of Alexandria safe.”
“We are proud of the collaborative work that went into making this agreement possible,” said Alexandria City Mayor Justin Wilson. “City staff, alongside Local 2141 leadership, were committed to finding common ground in the interest of public safety, as well as elevating the collective voice of the department.”
The contract calls for a 5 percent pay increase for fire fighter and fire/paramedic positions and an additional 10 percent increase for fire and EMS lieutenant captain positions. There will also be an annual raise of 2 percent and merit increases for eligible employees.
The agreement provides a path to reduce shifts from 56 to 50 hours per week by July 30, 2025. That effort will be supported by $12.52 million through fiscal year 2026 to add 52 positions.
“No one fights for us like we fight for ourselves,” said Kelly. “That’s why collective bargaining matters. It gives us a voice to better protect the public, our members, and our families. Local 2141’s successful campaign is the start of what we know will be many more wins in Virginia.”
Four other local governments in the state have passed collective bargaining ordinances. Arlington County Local 2800, Fairfax County Local 2068, Loudoun County Local 3756, and Richmond Local 995 are all working toward their first contracts.