Firefighters union, city could reach deal soon

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 1/16 8:07 pm Published: 1/16 4:56 pm

Days after the local firefighters union filed a restraining order against the city and the fire department, a compromise to the dispute may be coming.

The city's lawyers advised both sides not to release any details of the compromise until both sides sign off.

"Well I can't tell you anything about the plan, because we're in an agreement with the union, negotiations with them. They're working with us to iron out the details on it," said Tulsa Fire Department Chief Ray Driskell.

Driskell said things have been tough since the city ordered him to cut his budget to help make up a nearly $7 million city-wide budget shortfall.

His solution was to cut down the department's public education unit and move some of those administrative positions back to firefighting roles, with pay cuts.

"For us, we're so lean we're down to people. And when you get down to people, that starts getting to be much more of an emotional issue," he said.

Leaders with the firefighter union said those changes violated a union contract, so they filed a temporary restraining order to stop the changes from being implemented.

"All we did was take some people who are in light duty positions, who are still firefighters, and come fill those spots. We didn't cancel any programs and we're still scheduling programs going forward," he said.

Because the restraining order made it a legal issue, no details of the compromise have been released yet, but Driskell is confident things will calm down soon.

"I think we've got a good plan and going forward I think everything's gonna be fine," he said.
FOX23 was initially told the details of the compromise would be released Thursday afternoon; crews are now working to determine why they were not released.

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