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New Orleans agrees to give firefighters $75 million in 30-year-old back pay dispute

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said on Friday the city had agreed to pay $75 million to settle a longstanding dispute with its firefighters over back wages, ending a quarrel in which he was threatened with house arrest.

“After decades of gridlock, court battles and uncertainty for our firefighters and for taxpayers, together we have solved this problem, hopefully once and for all,” Landrieu said at a news conference

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Under the deal, the city agreed to pay firefighters $75 million over more than a dozen years to resolve the standoff dating back to the 1980s.

Finalizing the complex agreement, which involves pension reforms, will require action by the state legislature and city council, Landrieu said. Voters will be asked to approve a tax increase to help pay for it.

Under a 1980s judgment, the city owed firefighters $75 million in back wages, plus $67 million in interest, because it had not given firefighters raises required by state law.

The mayor did not address all of the details of the deal in his remarks at the news conference, which was also attended by union officials.

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Landrieu was held in contempt by a civil district judge over the dispute last month, but he was spared weekend house arrest during an appeal.

The deal marks a significant accomplishment for the two-term mayor. New Orleans has been ordered by the federal government to carry out costly reforms to its prison and police department, and has also has been struggling to afford more police officers and make street repairs.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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