In response to your recent editorial (“Realism on city contracts,” Sept. 1) and the Sept. 30 “Maumee Dearest” cartoon, your readers need to hear the rest of the story.
In an effort to reach agreement, Teamsters Local 20's membership has given back considerably to the City of Toledo. Mayor Mike Bell's office projects about a $16 million deficit. We represent about 180 of the approximately 3,000 city employees. Our loss of 70 jobs in solid waste because of modernization of the trucks amounted to $3.8 million a year in savings to the city, approximately one quarter of the deficit.
Our transfer to the city health insurance plan from our current plan saves the city another $600,000 a year. In addition to going from a full-coverage plan to an 80/20 plan, our members will pay an additional 24 cents an hour toward this plan out of their own pockets. They also will pay 4 percent of their pension contribution.
The $3.8 million in savings given back to the city does not reflect the agreed-upon elimination of the incentive programs the city insisted on in previous contracts in lieu of wages. All of this amounts to well over $4 million a year in savings for Toledo, at considerable cost to our union members.
We are deadlocked over one issue: “me, too.” The mayor's office says it must hang tough because it has to negotiate with the other city unions and will ask the same from them. We accept that. But if the city gives in to other unions, we ask that they give the same increases to us.
I don't think that is asking too much. If what the mayor's office is saying is sincere, it should be a no-brainer.
Generally, when an administration asks employees to take concessions, it sets the example. I have not seen anyone in this administration take a pay cut. Has Mayor Bell cut his pay? He has increased pay for his staff.
When Toledo City Council did not reject the fact finder's decision, the administration insisted that it vote again two days later. If union members accepted a contract, then voted it down two days later because they hadn't understood what they were voting on, would the city have found that acceptable? What a firestorm that would be.
Teamsters Local 20
Contract is better than privatizing
In response to your Sept. 26 article “City's trash workers reject contract 116-12”: Why not contract with private companies for that work and compare their wages and benefits, especially in economic times such as these?
Stakeholders left out of UT plans
Your article about University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs' plan to restructure the College of Arts and Sciences would give me pause if I were a UT trustee (“UT leader proposes reshaping colleges,” Sept. 25).
Dr. Jacobs is correct that change can be painful and uncomfortable. What appears lacking in his approach are ways to reduce the pain and discomfort.
To maximize the chance of success in restructuring the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Jacobs should have included faculty, students, and alumni of that college as well as university administrators and others in creating the plan. The fact that the arts and sciences dean has her own plan suggests that's not the case.
Strong communication and listening skills are also essential. The president's dismissal of an opinion about favoritism as “utter nonsense,” along with faculty criticism of the plan, suggest that improvements in communication would be helpful, too.
It seems unlikely that this sort of approach will remake UT into one of the best universities in the world.
Kaptur no small fry in Congress
I was impressed with Rep. Marcy Kaptur's knowledge of federal and local issues during her debate with Rich Iott (“Kaptur, Iott clash in heated 1st debate,” Sept. 28).
Although he held his own at times, Mr. Iott tended to repeat himself without giving specifics. Nor did he show any real understanding of how Congress works. In addition, his supporters in the audience were ill-mannered when Miss Kaptur attempted to answer questions.
Miss Kaptur is one of the most senior female members of Congress. She serves on the House Appropriations Committee, considered to be the most powerful House committee.
Contrary to what Mr. Iott believes, seniority is important and is not overrated. Lucas County is lucky to have someone of Miss Kaptur's dedication and vision representing Ohio's 9th Congressional District.
Judge Kaptur by her voting record
The Kaptur-Iott debate was revealing. Rich Iott proved he was not a glib politician, skilled in smooth answers and nonanswers.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur was more skilled, but after a couple of decades in Washington she should be. The most revealing substance of the night was Miss Kaptur's unequivocal defense of her votes for trillion-dollar bailouts that didn't work, as proven by today's unemployment numbers.
She voted for Obamacare, which has raised health-insurance costs with much bigger increases to come and is universally disliked by her constituents. She defends her cap-and-trade vote that, if implemented, would kill jobs in northwest Ohio and significantly increase our utility rates.
This is how Miss Kaptur votes in your interest. Change sounds good to me.
Thinning the herd eliminates jobs
During the Kaptur/Iott debate, Rich Iott said that business closings are just thinning the herd. A TV ad for Mr. Iott says 38,000 people in the Toledo area are jobless.
Isn't joblessness caused by herd-thinning?
Spread the blame for economic pain
Your investigative series “Shut Down & Shipped Out” (Sept. 26-28) was excellent. But let's spread the blame for Ohio's deep manufacturing malaise.
In addition to our government's lack of interest in the negative impact of unfair trade, leadership of the Ohio AFL-CIO needs to look in the mirror. Add Ohio consumers who flock to discount stores for low-priced products from China, Mexico, India, and elsewhere.
We are our own worst enemies and should take some responsibility for the current economic pain and suffering. We elect dopes, we buy low-cost junk, and we protect the lazy.
Change these behaviors and we will return to the economic giant we once were proud to be. Thank God for the American farmer, who still feeds us and much of the Third World.
Put In Bay, Ohio
Parking fees put damper on race
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure has been a huge success in northwest Ohio. Support has grown annually over the past several years (“19,096 runners, walkers Race for the Cure in downtown,” Sept. 27).
But on race day, I was disheartened to arrive in downtown Toledo and find that participants were charged to park. The race brought nearly 20,000 people downtown. Many spent money in local establishments.
The event was planned to raise funds and awareness for a charitable cause. Parking lots should not have charged people attending the event.
Northwest Ohio is working on its image. Don't ruin it by turning people away who want to participate in an amazing event, but can't afford to park.