July 29, 2014

Elyria
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Union representative says talks with North Ridgeville going well

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The head of the union representing employees from several city departments said Thursday he is hopeful of coming to terms on a new contract package in the near future.

“We hope to get it knocked out in the next couple of (negotiating) sessions,” said Anthony Oliva, president of Local 3442 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which represents 70 to 80 people who work for the city at its Service Department, City Hall, Parks and Recreation Department, the city senior center and the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“It’s going good all around,’’ he said. “The city is being fair, and we’re being reasonable as well.”

Talks between the city and union representatives began in early December as soon as the city had reached terms on a new two-year package with firefighters that called for 4 percent raises in 2013 and a 2 percent raise this year.

The union’s members are working under a two-month contract extension that runs to Feb. 28. The extension was approved in December by City Council as the local’s three-year contract expired Dec. 31.

“Weather has definitely played a role in slowing down talks,” Oliva said. “I guess this is a bad time of year to negotiate.”

Both sides have exchanged initial proposals, but Oliva declined to get into specifics.

“We’ve taken what the city offered, and they’re doing the same, and both of us are considering them,” Oliva said.

Oliva said the city’s initial offer is smaller than what the union requested in its initial proposal.

“That’s to be expected,” Oliva said. “You don’t go in with just what you want. You always ask for higher at first. Anybody who is bargaining does that.”

Mayor David Gillock also declined to discuss specifics.

“It’s going well so far,” Gillock said. “I think we’re getting close.”

One of the major items the mayor has said he wishes to secure in all employee contracts is an increase in workers’ share of health insurance from 10 percent to 12.5 percent. The same increase was negotiated with firefighters in November.

“We know they want all (bargaining) units to be on the same page,” Oliva said.

The proposed hike in employee insurance costs is being discussed with AFSCME members, but Oliva did not say how it is being viewed by employees.

Another negotiating session has not been set.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • tj21269 .

    Good luck to all, the city of elyria has been paying 15% of hospitalization costs since 2007!!

  • KZ14

    Good Luck is right, 12% is it? When I go to Speedway on Center Ridge in the morning I maybe I won’t see all the city trucks with their engines running and a dozen city workers getting coffee and other crap. You’re on the tax payers dollar at this time so here’s my advice Get To Work bring your coffee and crap with you.

    • Spec440

      Jesus. Give it a rest. Tell you what, save your dime, I’ll pay .20 so that they can get their coffee. Must be hard living in a world that little stuff like this gets you so fired up.

      • Zen Grouch

        Must be wonderful living in a world where you can buy a guy a cup of coffee for 20 cents…

        • Pablo Jones

          No it only costs a dime. It’s 20 cents because he’s picking it up KZ’s dime.

          • Zen Grouch

            Sorry, math isn’t my friend when I’m stoned.

      • Pablo Jones

        10 cents times how many employees times how many working days a year? That adds up to a lot.

  • John Davidson

    Maybe they should all be made to pay for their own Obamacare.

    • Zen Grouch

      I’m lost…

      …care to elaborate?

  • Tommy Peel

    Its good that the administration and the union representatives can negotiate in good faith, it shows that it isn’t us against them. Hopefully they can agree on things that will benefit the workers, the city and the taxpayers that they work for.

  • Michael A. Figueroa

    Go Union! Don’t sit and be angry at union workers fighting for their rights, join us! Unionized worker statistically have higher wages than those of you that lay down like sheep.

    • Zen Grouch

      There are actually statistics with a column to include “those who lay down like sheep?”

      I’m impressed!

    • Pablo Jones

      I’m not sure how pay and benefits are a right. Isn’t a right something that can’t be given or taken away? If it can be taken away it is just a privilege.

      In any case public workers aren’t just fighting for pay and benefits. They are fighting for more of your tax dollars. The more they get the less there is for infrastructure of the community. The more that goes to wages and benefits means there is less money to fix the streets, less to improve the water and sewer system, less for people and fire equipment, less for the parks, etc. etc.

      • Tommy Peel

        No one is fighting, they are negotiating in good faith, on both sides of the aisle. Pablo, quit being jealous of union workers and the benefits that they enjoy.

        • Pablo Jones

          What is negotiating in good faith? If the union gets what they want it is good faith, if they don’t it isn’t? When a union goes on strike is that negotiating in good faith? Oh that is their last resort, they are negotiating in good faith until they don’t get what they want, then they go on strike and it is ok for that form of bad faith negotiating.

          Again I was referencing Micheal’s comment above. “Don’t sit and be angry at union workers fighting for their rights”

          And I’m not jealous of anyone’s pay or benefits. If Bill down the street made $500,000 a year I wouldn’t be jealous. I’d be curious as to what he does but that would be the extent. I don’t even care if a business is unionized. It is up to the business to make those decisions. Of course whether I do business with any place comes down to quality and cost. I’ll choose the best balance between cost and money. I won’t pay more for the same level of quality, it doesn’t matter if a place is non-union or union.

          However, I do have an issue with public sector unions because it is tax dollars going to fund them and there isn’t a feasible way to opt out of paying them. Even if you move out of a city or state federal taxes will still be directed towards them.

          Cities and states are receiving record amounts of tax dollars yet it isn’t enough. We hear time and again, we need more money for roads, water, sewers, police, fire, school, etc., etc. Where is all the extra money going? It is going to wage increases and less is going towards the infrastructure that the money is intended to maintain. So we are giving more money and getting less for it. This is my issue with public sector unions.

          • Tommy Peel

            Good faith bargaining is not when the union get what is wants.If someone works for a city of course they are paid with tax dollars. Cities and states ARE NOT receiving record amounts of money. Most cities in Ohio are struggling, because the governor cut a record amount to the state funding levels, in order to balance his budget.

          • Pablo Jones

            Really? Go to the Ohio SERB website and read every fact finder report where each side states their case. The union wants an increase of X with no increase in insurance premiums. The city offers an increase of Y (slightly smaller than X) and a marginal increase in insurance costs and the union says they are not bargaining in good faith. The fact finder report recommends a middle ground and the union still rejects it.

            State and local revenue has been increasing for the last 3-4 years. Some states and local districts had a peak in 2007, but even in those cases current levels are still within a few percent of those levels. So let me correct my statement, record or near record tax revenue yet they are all crying poverty that they can’t do anything without additional taxes.

    • Oneday67

      What “rights” are you referring to?

      • Pablo Jones

        Apparently it is a “right” somewhere that unions have to get raises every year and it is a right that they never have to pay more for their benefits.

        • Tommy Peel

          Unions don’t have to get raises every year, and they sometimes have to pay more for their benefits.

          • Pablo Jones

            Sssshhh you don’t want them to hear that. They think it is a right.