Reedy Creek Improvement District

Reedy Creek Firefighters Vote to Approve New Contract

Reedy Creek firefighters voted to approve a new contract with the now Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. This comes after operating without a contract for years, their union president said. Under the new contract, the firefighters receive pay raises and also more staffing. The firefighters serve the district where most of the Walt Disney World Resort resides.

“Up until January of this year, we had gotten zero momentum in moving this thing any closer to being signed,” said Jon Shirey, the Reedy Creek Fire union president.

Members of the union voted on the new contract this week, which was negotiated with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District after it replaced the Reedy Creek Improvement District earlier this year. With the final votes tallied on Friday, 80% of the 185 members were in favor.

“There’s a huge level of relief,” Shirey said. “We have a level of open communication dialogue that we’ve never experienced before here.” This came as the union negotiated with the new district governing body that has a board that was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

Under the new deal, starting pay for Reedy Creek firefighters goes up to $65,000. EMS starting pay would also go up from $40,000 to $54,000. Along with the pay increase, over the next six months, the fire department would hire an additional 25 firefighters and 12 more EMS paramedics. Under the new plan, more would be hired in the coming years. They will also add four more ambulances and a staffed ladder truck.

“We were having a major recruitment problem previously,” Shirey said. “So we’re very happy. Our daily firefighters’ staffing will go from a minimum of 32 firefighters to 44 by the end of this contract.”

“We sign up to do this job and help people, and really, at that time, all we were asking for was the tools to be able to do our jobs,” Shirey said. “We’re just so optimistic about what the future looks like for us.”

The contract will now head to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board to get its final approval.

The finalization of this contract comes as a dispute between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to feud over the future of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District. Currently, there are two lawsuits, one in state and one in federal court, that are seeking to define the district’s future. It is unknown at this time how either of these could impact this new contract with the firefighters. Daps Magic will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available.