Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who gets a 17% raise in this economy?

Toledo refuse workers, represented by the Teamsters, if the fact finder report is accepted.

This is not a joke. A fact finder report (not made public in its entirety until either voted on by the union or the city council), recommends that the base pay for refuse workers jump two grades, going from $18 per hour to $21.09 per hour. The report also includes a 2 or 3 percent raise during the term of the contract.

And, at a time when other new hires for the city are paying their own portion of their pension in its entirety, refuse workers would have the city (meaning you and me) pay 8.5% of their personal pension contribution on top of the required employer contribution.

Oh - and remember that for 2010 Toledo had a $48 million deficit.

Four members of city council voted to accept the recommendation: Michael Ashford, Adam Martinez, Steven Steel and Lindsay Webb (who is my district representative). But since only 7 voted to reject, they did not achieve the 60% required to officially reject the findings. So Council needs to have 7 members voting to accept the report (a simply majority) or 8 members voting to reject. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday morning.

I plan to call Lindsay Webb and share my opinion with her - I hope you'll call or email and let them know what you think.

This proposal is completely unacceptable - not just in this economy and in Toledo with it's financial situation - but in general. The city has 'me-too' clauses in their other contracts which requires the city (meaning you and me) to apply more generous compensation terms negotiation by one union to the other unions as well.

Personally, I despise me-too clauses because they give everyone the benefits, but none of the concessions, that were negotiated. And it unnecessarily drives up the costs for the taxpayer - which is part of the problem Toledo politicians have ignored for years, resulting in huge budget deficits.

If accepted, the terms will be used by the other unions whose contracts are up for negotiation. If council approves this one, how can they not approve similar terms for their other unionized workers? Aye...there's the rub.

I wonder if the Teamsters will reject this report as unsustainable? It certainly should be rejected by Toledoans and their representatives on council.

I wonder if any of the council members are regretting their decision NOT to privatize this service? And if these were not unionized jobs, do you think the city would find people who would be willing to work for the current $18 per hour to pick up the trash? I believe so. In fact, the taxpayers would be better off if the city said, 'here's how much we're offering - with unemployment in Toledo above 11%, we'll find others who will take it if you don't want to.'

We cannot afford this and, as Mayor Mike Bell said, "We have fallen into the same trap we've been in for 20 years. Our workers deserve a good living, but what we pay them has to be within our means."


James said...

And from what I have observed in garbage pickup service in Toledo, all the worker (really, the truck driver) does is send out a big arm that clutches the bin, raise it into the air, and then turn it over to drop the garbage into the truck. And they need a $3 an hour raise for doing that? Where do I sign up to make $800 a week to do that?

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


I have to agree with Mike on this one.

The purpose of automation was to SAVE money, not fritter it away on more raises.

Now, if the current collectors can't make do at the current wage rate, I know several hundred people currently without jobs that would LOVE to try. . .

rick948 said...

Today was trash day in my neighborhood. Usually, the truck driver is very conscientious and will place the trash receptacle back on it's wheels after dumping. Today, most receptacles in my neighborhood where simply dropped on their side. Was this a new driver/operator or a protest about the raise? AND . . . If they don't get what they are demanding, when will the strike begin?

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