City union workers vote down contract offer

UPDATE: For the second time in less than a month, city union workers have rejected a contract offer by the city. This time the vote was 227 voting yes and 428 voting no.

Mayor Finkbeiner Responds To Local 7 Vote

Today, Mayor Finkbeiner released the following statement in response to AFSCME Local 7 members voting down the proposed new labor contract with the City of Toledo (227 to 428).

"During the last 24 hours, three significant events have occurred that highlight why many Toledoans feel Toledo's municipal union leaders have no respect for the impact the nation's recession/depression is having on City of Toledo finances.

Yesterday, Alan Cox, President of Local 2058, held a press conference stating that he had presented the City with a plan that would save $21 million. Absolutely false.  His plan was as bogus, in terms of saving money, as a three-dollar bill.

Second, Toledo Police Patrolman's Association negotiators, yesterday, asked for a contract calling for a double-digit increase in pay over three years. That pay raise would virtually force the layoff of all Local 7 and 2058 employees, if it were granted.

Third, today, as Local 7 members were arriving at the Stranahan Theatre to vote on the contract Local 7 AFSCME leaders and the City had negotiated, other City of Toledo union members were passing out pamphlets urging Local 7 members to vote against the very contract their leaders had tentatively agreed to.  This is in violation of Fair Labor practices, and did a great disservice to Local 7 AFSCME, and City of Toledo leaders who had negotiated a fair agreement.

I've asked the City of Toledo Law Department to file unfair labor practice charges against the members of the unions that blatantly interfered with today's voting process.

We will move forward in balancing the budget of the City of Toledo. Unfortunately, we will soon have fewer workers than we had a year ago, due to a few union leaders, who refuse to recognize the grave economic conditions we are confronted by."

By Rob Wiercinski - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - A potential strike by hundreds of city of Toledo workers could be averted if union members approve new contract.

Will the second vote turn it around for workers... and the city?

Around 850 members of AFSCME Local 7 are scheduled for a meeting at the Stranahan Theater noon Tuesday to discuss the city's latest 3-year contract offer. A vote on that offer will determine whether or not there's the possibility of a strike.

On December 17, News 11 was the only station with a camera crew there as Local 7 members voted overwhelmingly to reject the city's contract offer. It included a wage freeze for 2 years followed by a 2% increase in the third year. It also included the introduction of monthly health care premiums.

News 11 has learned this new contract offer includes additional concessions with 5 unpaid furlough days, a re-structuring of the pension pick-up and different wage and health care rates for new employees.

Last month, Local 7 members also gave union leaders authorization to issue a 10-day strike notice. That hasn't happened yet, but the outcome of Tuesday's vote will determine if the city of Toledo settles its contract dispute with Local 7, or if it that dispute continues.