Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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82 nonunion Toledo city workers get 1 day off, more furloughs may loom

Eighty-two nonunion city of Toledo workers spent their day after Christmas on an additional holiday from work - albeit unpaid - as the budget-crunched city enacted its second mandatory furlough of the year to save money.

Friday's furlough applied only to nonunion workers per an arbitrator's decision this week that blocked Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's earlier effort to furlough all nonessential employees for three days this year: Nov. 26, Dec. 26, and Dec. 31.

The nonunion workers face more unpaid furloughs on Jan. 2 and possibly around the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday Jan. 19.

Also yesterday, the president of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 7 said his union does not plan to strike in the wake of its rejection last week of a contract offer by the city that would have frozen its members' salaries and raised benefit costs.

Instead, the union plans to re-start negotiations Monday when it sits down with the city administration, said President Don Czerniak, whose unit represents more than 800 city employees.

"We're hoping that there won't be a strike, and we're hoping to get to the table and get all these issues resolved," Mr. Czerniak said.

Jason Webb, the mayor's spokesman, confirmed that furloughs occurred yesterday for nonunion workers. The furlough also applied to the mayor, who worked unpaid at home, said Robert Reinbolt, the mayor's chief of staff.

The furloughs did not apply to many departmental supervisors, who came to work as normal. They, along with a few administrators who came to work for a few hours without pay, helped run the city, Mr. Reinbolt said.

Some employees in the Division of Solid Waste also worked yesterday without pay, he said.

Arbitrator Robert Stein ruled Monday that the furloughs, in essence one-day layoffs that the city administration says save about $100,000 a day, violated the city's contracts with AFSCME Locals 7 and 2058 and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 20.

The arbitrator ordered the city to compensate the 105 union members furloughed Nov. 26.

The 82 nonunion workers given furloughs will not be compensated.

Mayor Finkbeiner has vowed to appeal that ruling to allow for a planned five-day furlough during the week of Feb. 16 that could apply to up to 1,000 people, excluding police officers, firefighters, and some other essential employees.

Government Center's corridors were much quieter than usual yesterday, as many union workers also were off on paid vacation.

Doors to the 22nd floor, housing the mayor's office and those of other top administrators, were locked.

Toledo faces a $12 million deficit in the current year and has $6 million in its rainy-day fund.

The city said it recently sent layoff notices to 15 workers, with 15 more layoffs announced earlier this week.

Local 7 workers last week rejected a three-year contract offer that would have frozen salaries for two years and increased pay 2 percent in the third year. It would have raised premium costs for prescription drugs and hospitalization.

The parties could not agree on wages, health benefits, or job security, among other issues.

The union's contract expired June 30.

"Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, they'll be willing to sit down with the unions and try to work out some ideas and some solutions on how to save money so that nobody has to be laid off anymore," Mr. Czerniak said.

Contact JC Reindl at:

or 419-724-6065.

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