The New Bedford Firefighters Union has a new three year contract, thanks to a state appointed arbitration panel that approved the terms of the deal.

The award runs through June 28th of 2015, and calls for a 7.5% wage increase over the life of the contract. The total cost is $4.1 million over three years, and $1.8 million in the first year.

Union President Billy Cabral says the arbitration panel gave unanimous approval to the new contract.....

Each firefighter will also receive a $2,500 lump sum payment, plus increases in their clothing allowance and education benefit.

The union president says firefighters in New Bedford have not received a raise in almost five years.

Mayor Jon Mitchell has sent the measure to the City Council with his recommendation for approval, but the Mayor's office declined to discuss it further.

If the Council approves the award, it will go into effect immediately. If its voted down, state law says the City and the firefighters union must return to the bargaining table