The state labor court on Friday awarded Omaha firefighters a second year of back pay in a ruling that could cost the city millions of dollars.
Union President Steve LeClair said he expects firefighters to receive at least an additional $2.3 million for 2010 back pay. That's the amount firefighters received after filing a similar complaint about 2009 pay.
City Finance Director Pam Spaccarotella said she was reviewing the Friday order.
The ruling is the latest in an ongoing dispute between the City of Omaha and firefighters, who have been working under an expired contract since 2008.
The union asked the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations to increase workers' pay for 2009, 2010 and 2011, saying they would otherwise be paid less than comparable cities.
In the 2010 ruling, issued Friday afternoon, the labor court agreed and said the city must pay more to various classifications of firefighters.
It also mandated changes to firefighters' benefits.
LeClair said the union had not thoroughly analyzed the decision, but he was pleased.
“We've got to check a lot of math, review a lot of calculations, just to make sure,” he said.
However, he added, “We would like to have a long-term contract with the city.”
The commission has not ruled on the firefighters' request about 2011 pay.
The Omaha City Council voted against a fire contract negotiated by Mayor Jim Suttle last year, then voted to take over the labor talks but has not struck a deal.
World-Herald staff writer Juan Perez Jr. contributed to this report.
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