YOUNGSTOWN — The union representing city street service workers overwhelmingly rejected an investigator’s recommendation for a three-year contract because wages, especially for entry-level employees, are too low, among other things problems, said its president.
While the 30-member union rejected the recommendation with a single vote in favour, the city council voted 6-0 at its Wednesday meeting in favor of the proposal.
Deputy General Counsel Dan Dascenzo recommended council approve the investigator’s report, calling it a fair and favorable settlement for the city.
But the union’s vote, which took place on Monday, means the report is rejected. State law allows an investigator’s report to be rejected if a party votes to reject it with at least 60 percent of its members opposed.
Steven Anzevino, president of Teamsters Local 377, which represents union employees in the street department, said the city’s wage offer was too low. This causes staffing issues at street service, as employees with commercial driver’s licenses may be paid far more elsewhere than the city offers, he said.
“The streets are not plowed for three or four days because we don’t have the manpower,” Anzevino said. “The city doesn’t have enough employees to do the job, and the salary they’re offering isn’t going to attract and retain people.”
A laborer or entry-level driver currently earns $13.94 an hour. The city’s offer included a 13% increase in the starting wage to $15.75 an hour.
The city’s offer called for 2% annual raises for 2022, 2023 and 2024, except entry-level workers wouldn’t get the raise in the first year because of the wage increase.
According to the report of investigator Jerry Hetrick of Leesburg, Ind.
Hetrick sided with the city on salary.
The union’s highest-paid worker earns $21.33 an hour. A few other positions in the union are paid a little more per hour, but the positions have been vacant for years and there are no plans to fill them.
Asked about the union’s rejection, the city’s chief legal officer, Jeff Limbian, said: “Further negotiations are still awaited. The city plans to negotiate until the case is resolved.
While the city was offering 2% raises for this year as well as 2023 and 2024 for its street service employees, it signed a contract with the police patrol union last year for a 2% raise this year. and 2.5% the other two years. for those at the top of the pay scale – just over half of the members – as well as a 27% increase in starting salary.
The city also approved a contract with the firefighters union last year that had a 2% pay increase for this year and a 2.5% increase for 2023 for those at the top of the pay scale – about 75 % of union members – and increased the starting salary by 46%.
As part of the street department inquiry process, the city sought to change its overtime policy for the union. Pay is currently time-and-a-half if a street service union member works more than an eight-hour day or more than 40 hours in a seven-day period with sick leave included in the pay calculation.
The city wanted to make changes while the union wanted it to stay the same.
Hetrick recommended keeping the current policy in place, but excluding sick leave when determining overtime for a week.
The union has been working without a contract since December 31.