City of Gainesville, local firefighters reach historic agreement on new work schedule

Press release from City of Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. –Gainesville City Commissioners have ratified changes to the City’s 3-year contracts with Gainesville Fire Rescue (GFR) public safety employees, hoping a new work schedule will lead to better work-life balance for current first responders and to an increase in future hires.

At its Nov. 16 meeting, commissioners approved a unique 24/72 staffing model that will permit GFR firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to work a 24-hour shift followed by three consecutive days off. Currently, GFR first responders work a 24/48 schedule.

“This is a great day,” said GFR Fire Chief Joseph Dixon, who noted the department has already begun receiving calls about the upcoming change. “This new shift schedule demonstrates the continued commitment of our city leaders to our personnel and to the community at large,” he said.

Gainesville is one of a select few municipalities in the state, and the first in North Florida, to switch to the 24/72 model. City commissioners approved similar changes on Nov. 2 as part of a new bargaining agreement for GFR district chiefs. GFR leaders hope to implement the new shift schedule in mid-2024.

“Right now, a firefighter/EMT who starts work at 8 a.m., expecting to end their shift 24 hours later, might get off work 48 hours later instead. They’ll get overtime but they lose the downtime they really need to rest and the quality time they should have with their families,” said Nick Gonzalez, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2157, who negotiated the changes during bargaining talks between the City and the local union.

“The 24/72 schedule has generated a lot of excitement in the field and will help GFR become more competitive in recruitment and retention efforts. It really is a great investment in the health and well-being of our first responders and in the city we serve,” Gonzalez said.

  • This is a rare positive move by the City Commission. I’m sorry it will take seven months to implement. Thank you GFR for all you do.

  • If they don’t work OT I would imagine they fall short 24 hours in the same pay period. Currently they work 120 hours in a 14 day period. New schedule is 96 hours in the same 14 day period. Are they taking a pay cut or are their hourly wages being adjusted to compensate?

  • These guys are heroes, every time they go to work they potentially put their lives on the line for others. Bless them one and all and may God keep you safe.

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