(Sept. 29, 2017) The resort’s firefighter union is gearing up to start its new shift-schedule next week, finally moving off the longstanding shifts of 24 hours on-duty, followed by 72 hours off-duty.

Starting on Oct. 2, firefighters and paramedics will be assigned to 10-hour day and 14-hour night shifts, on a two-day rotation. That means employees will work two dayshifts, followed by two nightshifts, with four days off. Dayshift workers will report at 7 a.m. and nightshifts will start at 5 p.m.

The schedule is designed for a 45-hour work week, and the city will pay premium overtime for hours worked over the allotted time, according to the Fire Department shift implementation report.

“Anytime there’s change, you have to measure it, for better or worse, and that’s what we’ll do moving forward,” Fire Union President Ryan Whittington said.

The shift schedule was the focus of a yearlong impasse between the Town of Ocean City and Chapter 4269 of the International Association of Fire Fighters during labor negotiations, last year.

The mayor and City Council originally wanted to change the schedule to 12-hour shifts, but a compromise was reached on the 10/14 shift-schedule in March. A three-year contract was signed shortly after.

The union will receive a $50,000 bonus on Oct. 1, to offset costs of switching to the new schedule. On average, the bonus breaks down to $1,282 per employee.

The contract requires the union to provide the city with a complete list of how the bonus will be divided, 30 days before that date.

Whittington said he still does not stand by the 10/14 schedule, but the union will move forward in the best interest of Ocean City.

“Nothing has changed since the negotiations. We still don’t believe this is the best for Ocean City,” he said. “It’s going to be monitored closely through shift reports and other discussions. At the end of the day, we’re responsible for the safety of the taxpayers of Ocean City, but we will work it for their best interest.”

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