TOPEKA (KSNT) – Negotiations between the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) and the City of Topeka are underway as leaders determine an appropriate wage increase to meet the city’s commitment to 77% of the 2022 budget allocated toward public safety, according to the city.
Negotiations are at a standstill after neither party could agree on wage increases for the 2023 and 2024 years of the contract. City Manager Brent Trout said he believed the city extended a fair offer that covered many of the open issues.
“I was disappointed that IAFF was unwilling to respond today with any substantive counteroffers and that the parties were unable to reach an agreement,” Trout said.
The next step in the resolution is a fact-finding hearing through the Public Employer-Employee Relations Act (PEERA). If neither the City of IAFF can decide on terms after this period, the governing body will decide on the remaining issues, according to the City of Topeka.
This standstill puts the IAFF in the same stage of negotiations as the Fraternal Order of Police, with both parties being lead by the same lead negotiator going into the PEERA fact-finding stage.
Under PEERA, public employees are unable to strike and will continue to operate under the existing contract until an agreement is reached or implemented by the governing body, according to the city.