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Published: Tuesday, 1/20/2009

No pay raise in 09 and 10 for Maumee municipal employees

JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

For the first time in at least 20 years, municipal employees in Maumee will not be getting a pay raise this year or next.

Maumee City Council last week approved new three-year labor agreements with the International Associaton of Firefighters Local 4536, which represents about 20 firefighters, paramedics, and fire inspectors, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 649, which represents about 55 clerical workers and public works employees.

About 50 other nonunion employees also will be subject to the terms of the labor agreements, said City Administrator John Jezak, while the city is still in talks with the Fraternal Order of Police.

Under the terms of the new contracts, workers agreed to accept lump-sum payments rather than raises in their base pay in the first two years. Employees are to receive a $750 payment this year and a lump sum payment equal to 2 percent of their base pay in 2010.

In 2011, the unions will have the option of a 2 percent wage increase or the opportunity to reopen talks on wages, Mr. Jezak said.

The new pacts also include a two-tier wage scale that will mean new employees receive step pay raises at a slower rate than current employees.

It s a way of controlling our costs over the long term, he said. We took the current wage scale and about doubled the number of steps it takes to get from the bottom to the top.

By giving two annual lump-sum payments to workers, the city will save money because [a lump-sum payment] is not incorporated into base pay so it doesn t have a compounding effect either in benefits or year to year so it makes it much more cost-effective for us.

Mr. Jezak said City Council has made no decisions about potential layoffs, although the city is keenly aware of the impact the auto industry has on the local economic picture. He said the new labor agreements allow the city to obtain both short-term and long-term cost controls, and he hopes that will be enough to avoid laying off workers.

I think we struck a balance, and I think the two unions the IAFF and AFSCME have seen that and been willing to work with us, he said. They are bargaining out of not only a clear awareness of what s going on in the larger economy, but also out of a realistic sense of trying to preserve employment within their ranks right now.

The new agreements were effective retroactive to Jan.1.



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