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Published: Saturday, 5/6/2006

City, police union reach tentative pact

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A tentative contract agreement was reached yesterday between the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association and the city, but neither side would provide details of the agreement until the union's membership votes on the proposed contract on Wednesday.

Some of the sticking points throughout contract discussions were wage and health-care issues.

"We reached an agreement with compromise on both sides," said Bob Reinbolt, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's chief of staff, who declined to discuss specifics.

"I expect approval, but you never know, and it's up to the membership of the union."

The union's membership of about 540 will vote at 11 a.m and 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

The votes will be counted at 7 p.m., said Greg Harris, the union's president.

"We want to give everybody the chance to make plans to be there," he said.

Both Mr. Harris and the union's vice president, Dan Wagner, also declined to release details of the contract.

"We want to make sure that [union members] are making their decisions based on an educated presentation, rather than something they are not getting a full disclosure on over five days," Mr. Wagner said.

If the union approves the contract Wednesday, City Council is expected to vote on it at its next meeting.

If the members decline to accept the contract, Mr. Wagner said the union will continue negotiating with the city and might request a fact-finder to evaluate the situation.

Mr. Reinbolt said now that the tentative agreement has been reached, the city can focus on negotiations with other city workers.

The city is in negotiations with Toledo Firefighters Local 92, Toledo Police Command Officers Association, Toledo Fire Chiefs Association, Teamsters Local 20, and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 2058.

Jim Martin, president of Local 92, said news of the patrol officers' tentative agreement gives him hope that firefighters will soon reach a contract settlement with the city.

"That's a good sign for us - that the city is willing to move forward," he said. "And hopefully we will be able to follow suit and reach agreement."

Local 92 met with the city last week and no future meetings were scheduled as of yesterday, Mr. Martin said.

The city's 2006 proposed budget assumes a 1.5 percent pay increase for all city workers. That's based on an agreement with the city's largest union, AFSCME Local 7, which was approved in September.

Union leaders have said in the past that the 6.5 percent pay raise over three years approved by Local 7 was not acceptable.

In their last contracts, the unions accepted an 18-month wage freeze followed by two annual 2 percent raises and a 1 percent lump sum payment last year.

Police officers and firefighters not in command positions are paid about $51,000 a year.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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