The Austin Firefighters Association wants to be part of the city’s negotiation with the U.S. Department of Justice to settle long-smoldering claims that the city fire department’s hiring process discriminates against black and Hispanic applicants.
Minority candidates had challenged the 2012 round of hires and the Justice Department launched an investigation in early 2013.
Negotiations to settle the complaints have largely been limited to only city and federal officials—with union representatives complaining that they have been “shut out” of the talks. Officials describe the negotiations as ongoing and it appears the Justice Department is at least interested in the union’s take on settlement options.
The Justice Department was supposed to bring figures on a settlement deal to a February meeting, but requested more time.
Austin officials estimate the settlement will cost the city approximately $780,000 in back pay, with the city reserving 30 openings for black and Hispanic applicants.