Tampa City Council approves 'historic' 18.5% raise for police, fire, blue collar workers

In a unanimous vote Thursday, city council members voted to approve a historic 18.5% raise over the next three years for Tampa police, Tampa Fire Rescue, and other blue collar workers across the city.

The raises break down to 9.5% in the first year and 4.5% for both the second and third years of the union contracts. 

The raises would go to all members of Tampa's Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1464; the International Association of Firefighters Local Union No. 754, and the Tampa Police Benevolent Association. Members of the three unions comprise about two-thirds of the city's entire workforce and include a broad range of backgrounds from code enforcement, emergency responders, fire rescue, law enforcement, parks and recreation, sanitation, and water. 

Tampa mayor and former police chief Jane Castor, who took part in negotiations, says the raises will help the city's critical public works and safety officers keep pace in an increasingly expensive region. According to the Consumer Price Index, the Tampa Bay region saw an 11.3% jump in the cost of living for the 12-month period ending in May, nearly 3% higher than the national average. 

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Per their current contract, Tampa police officer salaries range from $60,257 - $97,843. By the third year of the new contract, first-year officers would start at $72,053 and senior officers could earn as much as $116,997. 

Firefighters and EMS, whose salaries range from $48,223 to $134,460, would earn between $57,663 and $160,782 after three years. 

ATU members, some of whom earn as little as $24,648 or as much as $109,824, would see salary ranges rise between $29,473 and $131,324. 

Mayor Castor's office says the city is able to fund the historic raises thanks to an unprecedented $40-million property tax surplus.