Firefighters Win Arbitration

By Max Resnik

May 10, 2011 Updated May 10, 2011 at 4:53 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – After months of battling between the City of Fort Wayne and the Fort Wayne Firefighters Association, an arbitrator ruled today that spouses have to be given the option to be a dependant on firefighters’ health insurance plans.

Last fall, city officials decided that spouses of firefighters could no longer be covered under the city’s insurance policy if their own employer provided insurance and paid at least 50 percent of the premium. Today, an arbitrator ruled otherwise.

This is a battle that has been waged between many local and state governments and unions across the country for much of the winter and into the spring.

Jeremy Bush, President of Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters, says he and his firefighters are not looking for entitlements nor are they being greedy.

He says, “We definitely understand the economic times that we're going through so we definitely don't want to be greedy and come across that way. Like I said, we make the decision and we take the chances that we do based on the benefit package that we receive. I can tell you personally, I know that's why I made the decision I did, or take the chances I did, because I know ultimately I can go home to my family and be protected.”

The City of Fort Wayne released their own statement today saying in part, “While this ruling only affects members of the Fort Wayne Firefighters Association, in the interest of fairness, the City will be reinstating the old spousal policy for all city employees.”

The City of Fort Wayne says they were working on behalf of the taxpayer in an effort to save taxpayers money.

The changes will be implemented beginning in June.




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