Arbitration hearing for city layoffs held between city, union

Report by Rob Wiercinski - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - A plan by Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to issue temporary layoffs to more than a thousand city workers was the focus of an arbitration hearing Thursday, December 11.

City of Toledo administrators and union leaders met behind closed doors with an arbitrator to try to resolve the dispute over temporary layoffs.

The mayor's plan calls for 1200 "non essential" city workers to take December 26 and 31 off without pay, to help fill in this year's budget gap.

Local 2058 President Alan Cox wants full disclosure from the mayor's office to prove why these temporary layoffs are necessary. "We think it's coming clean on where money's really been spent and how much money really is available," says Cox. He adds, "We want a full accounting of where that money has gone because we don't think it's all out the door."

On Wednesday, December 10, the mayor announced 45 city workers will be let go to offset a projected $3 million shortfall for next year unless unions are willing to make concessions.

"If we're all willing to share a little bit, if we're all willing to sacrifice a little bit, we can avoid a lot of hurt, and that falls upon all our shoulders," says Finkbeiner.

The mayor says that's why he's willing to cut his own salary by 15 percent for next year. "You lead by example, and hopefully that encourages others to consider the same."

At least one union leader says he's willing to work with the mayor. "I can't give specifics, but we're meeting with our executive board tomorrow, and we think there might be some room that we could offer some suggestions," says Cox.

While the mayor says those 45 pink slips for permanent layoffs could be delivered as early as the week of December 15, the arbitrator hearing the temporary layoff argument will deliver a decision by Monday of that week.