In Indian River County, health and safety concerns are just one part of a prolonged labor dispute.
The president of the local firefighters union said recent tests show poor air quality inside this building, and other county fire stations, sometimes in areas where emergency personnel sleep.
“It’s dangerous to our crews. Long-term exposure to toxic environments like that, we’re finding out, is not conducive to health and wellness,” said John O’Connor.
Since May, the firefighters have been at an impasse with the county over a new contract, so a special magistrate is being brought in.
A special magistrate will hear both sides Thursday then make a nonbinding ruling. Final contract decisions are in the hands of the Indian River County Commission.
“We’ve spent $14 million on renovations since 2004. We had 13 bargaining sessions. There was no mention of building conditions,” said Indian River County Administrator Joe Baird.
Baird said two station houses will get new roofs in the near future.
He disagrees with other union concerns, such as the age of some of their vehicles.
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