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Published: 7/17/2009

Toledo, firefighters reach tentative labor agreement

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

The Finkbeiner administration and the union representing city firefighters announced yesterday they had reached agreement on a tentative contract, one week after City Council settled a contract with the police union.

The terms of the deal are expected to be explained to members of Toledo Firefighters Local 92 today and to members of City Council before Tuesday's meeting, when a vote could occur.

The contract with the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association called for a two-year wage freeze and a pay raise of 3.5 percent in 2011, the third year.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner issued a joint announcement of the tentative deal with James Martin, president of Local 92.

George Sarantou, chairman of council's finance committee, said the tentative agreement is "a good step in the right direction."

"I think it will be similar to what was approved with TPPA," Mr. Sarantou said. "I haven't seen the numbers and what it entails specifically."

He said it would likely reduce the $10 million deficit projection for 2009 by about $2 million.

Mayor Finkbeiner sought dramatic cuts in bargaining with the police union, including pay cuts of 10 percent and a return to employees paying their full 10 percent share of the state pension contribution.

The mayor did not disclose what concessionary terms were sought from the firefighters' union.

The contract with police ended up with police officers agreeing to pay most of their 10 percent pension contribution for six months. In return, they got 6 1/2 additional vacation days to use this year.

The union agreed that all new hires would pay the full 10 percent.

Police officers also agreed to contribute to employee health care, ranging from $25 a month for a single employee to $55 for a family.

The agreement promised police officers lump-sum payments in 2010 if city tax revenues for 2009 end up surpassing $148 million. The administration had based its bargaining on projections of $145 million in income tax revenue in 2009, an estimate both the TPPA and Local 92 claimed was unduly pessimistic.

The administration said the police contract would save $2.4 million in the current year and $800,000 in 2010.

However, if the same wage terms end up being applied to other city unions, as expected, the cost in 2011 would be $2.89 million.

The Finkbeiner administration is asking council to approve cutting the 100 percent tax credit given to Toledo residents who work and pay taxes in another city, and raising the trash-pickup fee, to further narrow the gap between city revenues and spending.

The city is still negotiating with the Toledo Police Command Officers Association and AFSCME Local 2058 Supervisors.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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