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New Proposal Outlined by SJ Firefighters

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KCBS) _ San Jose firefighters have unveiled a new proposal that they hope will allow the city to rehire dozens of just laid off emergency responders.

49 firefighters were scheduled to lose their jobs by the end of this weekend, part of cuts made by the city of San Jose, which is facing an over $118 million budget deficit.

The San Jose Fire Fighters Local Union 230 is now offering to take a 5.25 percent pay cut, reduce retirement benefits for new hires and remove a no layoff provision.

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Union President Randy Sekany said millions of dollars could be saved if the department adopts a new deployment plan to reduce overtime.

"And use those in conjunction with the concessions that we're putting forward to keep all these firefighters employed and most importantly, keep all fire engines and all trucks available to save the lives and property of the citizens and businesses in San Jose," he said.

Sunny Johnson-Gutter is one of the firefighters now out of work and he has a message for the city.

"Just realize they're losing a lot of high-caliber people," he said. "A ton of experience, dedication and just drive and desire to help the city of San Jose."

San Jose's chief negotiator, Alex Gurza said the layoffs could have been avoided if the firefighters had agreed to a 10 percent cut in wages and benefits.

"The firefighters are willing to take approximately a 3.5 percent cut in pay and benefits versus 10 percent," said Gurza.

Gurza said the latest proposal is still well short of what the city is asking for.

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