Good News for Lawrence Police, But Firefighters Want Fairness


EDITORS NOTE: These are the thoughts and opinions of Mike Delaney and not the Firefighters’ Union or any other group he’s affiliated with.

Congratulations to the Lawrence Police for finally securing a well-deserved contract from the city. It’s truly a commendable achievement for the department after years of advocating for fair compensation.

However, it’s hard not to express disappointment when juxtaposing this success with the city’s failure to offer a similarly respectful contract to the firefighters of Lawrence. Local 146 took the city for their word when they were repeatedly told that there was no money beyond the 3% COLA offered, while seeking a contract similar to the Police Department, including an additional 2% for hazardous duty pay, a benefit received by many similar fire departments in the Commonwealth.

The sudden settlement of the police contract after the city’s repeated claims of financial constraints does raise questions and frustrations.

The question of whether the administration really believes Local 146 wants to get every dime that they have is not a valid one. It’s essential to underscore that fair, sustainable contracts benefit both the firefighters and the community they serve. Many members of Local 146 are from the city and are committed to giving their all for the next 30+ years in providing the highest quality of service to the residents, business owners, and visitors of the City of Lawrence.

The disparity becomes all the more glaring when considering the significant budget increases, particularly the mayor’s budget almost doubling, along with substantial wage increases for non-union inner circle members. Additionally, the stark contrast in wage increases between the police and the firefighters during the same 3-year period does raise concerns about equity and fair treatment.

The recent settlement of the police contract, including a 3% raise each year for the next three years and a 2% increase for the post commission, certainly highlights the need for transparency and equitable treatment across all public service sectors. Such disparities only emphasize the need for fair and just treatment for all public servants.

The disparity in treatment becomes starkly evident when one considers the dedication and hard work put in by Local 146 Lawrence Firefighters, who have not been given the same consideration. The support and endorsement provided by Local 146 to the administration only adds to the frustration, as they find themselves seemingly relegated to a back seat despite their contributions and support.

If the city was being honest about its finances when negotiating and finalizing a contract with Local 146 but moments later found they did have the money to pay the police what firefighters were also asking just weeks after settling with firefighters, the administration should do the right thing and offer an MOA to firefighters, offering that same 2% increases over this contract to show the respect for both departments is equal.