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Around 70 Toledo firefighters marched from their union headquarters on Washington Street to the city’s Division of Environmental Services building Thursday morning, hoping to keep up pressure on Mayor Mike Bell’s administration amid a hearing to resolve a contract dispute.
The city is seeking pay and benefit concessions from the main firefighter’s union Local 92 in line with similar cuts already negotiated with Toledo’s main service workers’ union, AFSCME Local 7.
Firefighters said the city’s request amounts to roughly a 14 percent cut in their take home pay which they consider unfair because of concessions they’ve already made in the past and because their workload is greater than ever. They said they also don’t believe the city’s budget situation is as dire as Mayor Bell has made out.
“We’re not asking for the moon. We just want a fair representation for the amount of work that we’re doing,” said union steward Glenn Hill. “We’re struggling under an extreme workload right now.”
Administration officials maintain concessions from all of the city’s unions are imperative to keeping the Toledo government on stable financial footing and avoiding a budget deficit.
Thursday marks the second day of fact finding for the two sides, which last met Feb. 16. The hearing is set to continue tomorrow.