By Sean Barron
The Board of Trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County has approved an agreement with a labor union that will reinstate a higher wage scale for its members.
During a special meeting here Wednesday, the board approved the two-year pact, retroactive to April 30, with the Service Employees International Union Local 1199, which represents about 90 clerical, maintenance and technical workers.
The contract reinstates a 2009 wage scale that members had voluntarily reduced to a 2008 level, noted Janet S. Loew, public- relations director.
In 2009, library officials asked the SEIU to take the rollback when state money was drastically cut, Loew explained. About a year later, she said, state funding hadn’t picked up, so union members also accepted a pay freeze at 2008 levels.
The agreement restores and locks in the 2009 pay scale, Loew continued.
Also built in are reductions in the number of annual vacation and sick days.
Previously, full-time employees received about 15 sick days per year; under the new agreement, they will have 11, she noted. Vacation time was reduced from five weeks to four yearly for someone with 10 years or more of service.
“Over the long run, the contract is attempting to balance some of the benefits in a way that saves the library money,” said Loew, who also praised SEIU members for their voluntary concessions.
In other business, the board accepted a bid of $50,155 from Joseph Painting Contractors Inc. of Boardman to paint the Poland library branch’s exterior.
Work on the 36,000- square-foot facility should get under way in June, Loew said, adding that the project will include a wall built a few years ago to prevent flooding from nearby Yellow Creek.
Also at the session, the building and sites committee approved a contract to pay Youngstown-based Faniro Architects $156,500 in architect and engineering fees for a North Jackson/Lake Milton library project.
Work on the branch has been on hold for several years mainly because of the economic downturn, Loew said. The facility is to be built near Jackson-Milton High School/Middle School on Mahoning Avenue, she added.