OCEAN CITY — The Mayor and Council on Tuesday fired off a lengthy statement of opposition to the ongoing petition drive by the Ocean City’s firefighter/paramedics union seeking to put a referendum for binding interest arbitration before voters this fall.
In late February, the clock expired on negotiations between the town and the Career Firefighter Paramedics Association of Ocean City, or IAFF Local 4269, on a new three-year contract, resulting in the town’s “last, best and final” offer essentially becoming the new contract by default. The negotiations broke down in late February over the town’s unwavering position on eliminating the paramedics’ long-standing 24-hour shifts.
Currently, most paramedics work in 24-hour shifts, followed by 72 hours off. However, citing a variety of reasons, including potential missed calls or delayed responses, the town remains adamant about eliminating the 24-72 shift rotation in favor of an alternative 12-hour shift or some hybrid of the two. Eliminating the 24-hour shift became a point of contention in the negotiations for a new contract for the IAFF 4269, forcing the union to walk away from the bargaining table.
Editor's note: the update can be found at the end of the article