CAPR CORAL, Fla.- Cape Coral firefighters unanimously voted down a tentative contract agreement with the city. Now, both sides are pointing the finger at who they feel is at fault.
The negotiations for this contract have been going on for more than a year. both sides say they thought they had reached common ground, but then the bottom fell out when 166 members of the firefighters union all gave the thumbs down.
"What took place was we negotiated a contract. We had a gentlemen's agreement. we got up and walked away from the table and a week later, we got a councilmember calling for even more cuts. That's negotiating in bad faith."
Strong words from Cape Coral's firefighter's union President Mark Muerth. He says that councilmember who called for even more cuts is Bill Deile. Deile says he did speak up only because it's the truth.
"They are on a course that is not sustainable. The community for which they work cannot afford to pay at that rate anymore. It's as simple as that," said Deile.
Muerth says the remarks were inflammatory and his members shot back. Voting down the tentative agreement with the city unanamously 166 - 0. The city's police force did the same just a week ago with only one member voting in favor or the tentative agreement which asked for a 3 percent reduction in pay and a 2 percent increase in contributions to the employees pension plan.
""Its obviously disappointing because you think that you are bargaining in good faith and you've come up with something you both can agree on and it gets turned down," Muerth said.