City, IAFF reach agreement for fire contract

October 19, 2021

City Council to consider approval during Friday meeting

Following several months of negotiation, the City of Bartlesville and International Association of Fire Fighters have reached a tentative agreement for a 2021-22 Fiscal Year contract, City Manager Mike Bailey said today.

The agreement is subject to final approval from the City Council, which is expected to consider the matter during a special meeting set for noon on Friday, Oct. 22.

Though negotiations for the current fiscal year contract began months ago, talks had stalled over the summer due to three points of contention between the parties: the department’s promotional process for management-level positions, the “Me Too” clause, which essentially requires that any compensation or benefit given to any City employee must also be given to firefighters, and salary adjustments.

Under the terms of the new one-year agreement:

  • The “Me Too” clause will be removed
  • All eligible candidates for leadership positions will be considered (Previously only the five most senior candidates could be tested)
  • Pay increases of 11.5 percent will be granted to the ranks for Firefighter, Driver, Captain, and Battalion Chief (The City had previously offered 11.5 percent for Firefighter and 6.5 percent for Driver, Captain, and Battalion Chief, while the Union had originally requested 11.5 percent for Firefighter, 14 percent for Driver, and 13.5 percent for Captain and Battalion Chief.)

“The City entered this year’s negotiations with three main goals: to bring the pay of our departments above that of our peer cities, to increase the pool of applicants that can be considered for leadership positions, and to remove the “Me Too” clause from all contracts so that we can negotiate with each employee group in a manner that best suits their needs,” said Bailey.

“We were completely successful in our goals of revamping our promotional system for leadership positions and removing the ‘Me Too’ clause. As for pay, the City was primarily focused on ensuring that our entry level positions, such as Firefighter, were paid at a high enough level to attract and retain the talent we need for the future of our organization. So it was critical that we keep the Firefighter level of pay increases high enough to accomplish that. We’re grateful that the Union saw the value in this approach as well.”

If the council votes to approve the agreement on Friday, the terms will be retroactive to the beginning of the current fiscal year, July 1, 2021. Negotiations for a 2022-23 Fiscal Year contract will begin next spring.

The council meeting will be held in in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 401 S. Johnstone Ave., and live-streamed on the City’s website, at The public is invited to attend.