Perrysburg OKs three-year deal with municipal employees union


PERRYSBURG – City employees within the general bargaining unit approved a new three-year contract that
city officials say falls more in line with predicted revenues and other comparable factors.
Council voted unanimously after an executive session Monday to approve a tentative collective bargaining
agreement with the Perrysburg Municipal Employees Association, following negotiations that spanned only
five meetings during a period of about two-and-a-half months. Union and city representatives have taken
the first step to approving wage increases for general unit employees of 2 percent in 2009 and 1.75
percent in 2010.
Per the agreement, negotiations will reopen before the beginning of 2011 to evaluate potential wage rates
for the last year of the contract.
Jon Eckel, public service director, said the general unit – comprised of about 55 service and clerical
employees – approached negotiations with an expectation that current economic constraints might
translate into a more modest contract.
"Given the economic times, I think the employees knew that things were tough and I think bargained
in that light," he said.
Traditionally, he said, most city divisions pursue contracts of similar amount – but things may be
changing. The economy has led city administration to compare potential wage rates against those in
comparable communities, such as those located in the suburbs of Toledo.
Eckel praised the agreement as "a great contract," echoing comments made by council member
Maria Ermie, who chairs the Personnel Committee.
"It’s fair, in my opinion, to both our taxpayers who are experiencing difficult economic times and
the general unit employees who are an asset to our community," she said of the ratified agreement,
approved by the union earlier that evening.
The Personnel Committee negotiated the remaining details of the agreement with union representatives at a
special meeting Thursday.
Council member Mike Olmstead said he favored enough details of the contract to warrant approval, while
also reserving some distaste for "fatally flawed" statutes in the Ohio Revised Code that
govern contract negotiations. He said the law forces negotiations to occur "in a bubble" and
directs focus toward past precedent instead of allowing for consideration of possible financial
scenarios in the future.
"This was a big step, in my mind, in changing a pattern" of an expectation that all units would
receive the same wage rates, he said.
Ermie assured Olmstead that her committee planned to examine actions that could be taken locally to
prompt a change in ORC 4117.
The tentative contract also includes: language to allow employees to cash in up to 40 hours of
compensatory time twice per calendar year; permission for employees to use one day of paid sick time in
case of death of a brother- or sister-in-law; and an increase in the uniform allowance from $125 to
With contracts approved for general and police employees, the city is still in the process of agreeing
upon an arbitrator for negotiations with the firefighters’ union. Council rejected a fact-finder report
earlier this month that called for a 3.25-percent increase in wages for the firefighters.
Council approved that same rate for the police bargaining unit, however Ermie has said police wages fall
below the middle range when examined against comparable communities while city firefighters’ wages were
in the middle to higher range of those communities.
In addition, council approved a payment of $1,234,487 to Diversified Pipe for Phase II of the Fort Meigs
Road project to widen and improve the road between the south CSX right of way and Eckel Junction Road.

(See UNION on 5)

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