Boston Firefighters get 19% raise, must submit to random drug tests


-An example of hair follicle testing on a Boston Police Officer. 

The Boston Firefighters Union won a major victory today with an arbitrators ruling granting them a 19% raise over the span of a 4 year contract.  

The raise is retroactive to 2006, when the last collective bargaining agreement expired. The union must submit to random drug testing, however it will be the less intrusive urine test. The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association members are tested randomly; however, the department uses hair follicle testing which requires officers to grow their hair out annually. Hair follicle testing also allows the examiners a larger window to check into the examinees past.  

The firefighters were asking for a 21% raise while the city wanted a 14% raise, more in line with other Boston city unions. The police and teacher’s unions negotiated 14% raises in their last contract. The city did get a minor victory on sick time limitations and the drug testing, which had been the major sticking point, however, the 19% raise is estimated to cost the city in excess of $50 million.  

The arbitrator’s award is binding, although the City Council can vote not to fund it. If the council blocked the deal, it would force the city to go back to the negotiating table to work out a compromise.  

In a statement, Menino said: “I am required by law to support this award and to submit its finding to the City Council, who will decide whether or not to accept and fund the decision. I am not however bound to stay silent on the facts. This contract provides a 19 percent raise – which is 5 percent more expensive than the wages provided to other public safety agencies during successful negotiations. These facts speak for themselves.” 

-Attorney John J. MacLaughlan

About Attorney John J. MacLaughlan

John MacLaughlan is Massachusetts licensed attorney as well as a Boston police officer. John is currently assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force (Gang Unit). He is a graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law with a concentration in Labor Law. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell as well as a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. John has taught Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Use of Force, Applied Patrol Procedures, and Police Response to Active Shooters to sworn police officers and police academy recruits. Prior to becoming a Boston Police Officer, John served for 9 years as a police officer in Lowell, where he was a member of the Police Dive Team and Patrol Rifle Team.
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