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Council OKs 3-year deal with water employees



Published: Fri, April 29, 2011 @ 12:08 a.m.

BASE-PAY salaries frozen

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

City council approved a three-year contract with the union representing water department employees that freezes their base-pay salaries.

But the contract, approved Thursday by council, maintains a number of perks members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2726 have enjoyed for years.

Among the perks are: free vision and dental coverage, a $658.20 annual payment for the “care and maintenance” of uniforms provided by the city, bonuses for not taking sick days, and longevity pay.

Steve Procick, president of the 85-member union, said “concerns over SB 5,” a new state law, not yet enacted, that reduces the collective-bargaining rights of public employees, “changed the game a little bit,” providing a sense of urgency to get the contract approved.

“We’re locked in for three years,” he said. “That’s a big plus.”

Law Director Iris Torres Guglucello said the contract, effective from Thursday through March 1, 2014, is “fair.”

The previous contract with the water department union expired Dec. 31, 2010.

That three-year deal had annual base-pay raises of 2.5 percent in the first year and 3 percent in each of the final two years.

Like other union contracts approved by the city in the past two years, the deal with Local 2726 doesn’t include base-pay salary increases.

Union members will continue to contribute 10 percent of the total monthly health-care premium, but with higher caps than the previous contract.

Those with single coverage will pay up to $100 a month, and those with family coverage will pay up to $200 a month. The previous caps were $80 for single and $150 for family.

The current monthly premium for hospitalization and medical coverage for these employees is $533.90 for single and $1,334.74 for family.

The union members will continue to receive free vision and dental coverage, something that costs the city $55.75 a month for each employee.

Also Thursday, council approved a $242,679.15 settlement to a 12-year-old lawsuit. The city agreed to that settlement with the former owners of the Wick-Pollock Inn on Wick Avenue.

The former hotel owners, Pollock Inn Restoration Associates, received $800,000 from the federal government in 1987 to improve the facility, which has been closed since 1998.

To get the federal money, the company was to pay $400,000 to the city. Instead, the city got $242,679.15.

Council also agreed Thursday to sell a 5.1-acre parcel in the Fosterville neighborhood for $14,000 to Bottom Dollar Foods, which will build a full-service grocery store there.

The property is bounded by West Princeton, Glenwood and West Indianola avenues, and is the location of the former Cleveland School and adjacent Fosterville Park on the city’s South Side.

Council had a special meeting Thursday primarily to approve this property sale because Bottom Dollar wants to start construction as soon as possible, said Councilman Paul Drennen, D-5th. The store is in his ward.

The store should open in November, Drennen said.

Also, Bottom Dollar is building another full-service grocery store on East Midlothian Boulevard at the location of a former Big Lots, near Zedaker Street.


Comments

1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Well taxpayers and city water payers, city council has screwed you again! Had they waited for SB5 to take effect, the outcome would have been in your favor, not the greedy selfish water unionites who get 3 more years of cadillac healthcare, and plush pay/benefits with this contract.

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2apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Rick is right, They even get raises although not base pay raises as if that makes it alright. The public sector shafts the taxpayers yet again. Suburbanites are already subsidizing water for the city and now will see yet another rise in water rates.

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3AtownParent(562 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

People can barely afford to pay their outrageous water and sewer rates as it is and now they get this. The Youngstown Water Dept is the biggest scam in this town. I don't even have vision or dental, everything is out of pocket for me and they get it for free! And just because base pay rates are frozen doesn't mean they aren't getting raises. This is ridiculous. It is crap like this that will push people to vote to keep SB5 if it is put on the ballot.

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4grand4dad(196 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Why are you all blaming the "greedy selfish unions". Most of the mess in the public sector is due to poor management. Why in the h*** would city council agree to such a contract in light of SB5???? All they have to do is say NO. Everyone should be up in arms against city council NOT the unions. Unions will always try to get the best they can for their members. It is management's fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers to negotiate and approve a contract that is economically prudent.

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5apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The Youngstown water department has been one of the bigger golden troughs over the years. A place for the connected to employ their friends and family. Any wonder why the management then gives them wonderful raises and benefits?

Bend over water users.

The Youngstown Water department rivals Boardman for the golden fleece award.

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6commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree, you can't blame the unions, if you have someone wanting to give you something ---you take it.
When they try to raise the water rates lets see what happens - --fire them all!!!

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7DavidSkolnick(51 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Rick,

Hopefully this answers your question.

From the story above:

To get the federal money, the company was to pay $400,000 to the city. Instead, the city got $242,679.15.

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8DavidSkolnick(51 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Rick,

In 1987, the owners of the Wick-Pollock received $800,000 from the government for the hotel. As part of that deal, they were to pay $400,000 to the city. The owners defaulted and it's been in the court system for the past 12 years.

The owners recently agreed to write a check for $242K to the city to end the lawsuit.

Here's some information from a Tuesday story about the settlement:

The city will receive $240,000 as soon as council votes to accept it as a settlement to a 12-year lawsuit.

...

The city has agreed to that settlement with the former owners of the Wick-Pollock Inn on Wick Avenue.

The former hotel owners, Pollock Inn Restoration Associates, received $800,000 from the federal government in 1987 to improve the facility, which has been closed since 1998.

To get the federal money, the company was to pay $400,000 to the city. The case has been tied up in the courts for 12 years.

Council’s finance committee agreed to support legislation at the next council meeting to accept the $240,000 settlement.

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