After a year of fruitless negotiation with the City of Sidney and four years without a pay rise, frustrated AFSCME Local 2429 members, their families and supporters took their case to a recent city council meeting.
“All we want is to treated like other city workers who have all had raises,” said Ohio Council 8 Regional Director Marcia Knox, who is leading the negotiating committee.
“They have all had raises that ranged from 1 to 3 percent per year. But our members have been skipped over while the administration has reached agreements with the other city employees. And that is not fair,” Knox said.
The union went to fact finding and the hearing officer agreed with the union that the AFSCME bargaining unit was being treated differently on wages.
The fact-finder’s report called for a 2 percent increase and keeping the fair share fee. However, City Council rejected the fact-finding report in May.
After returning to the bargaining table, the city put forth a last-best offer that included a 1 percent pay raise for 2015. However it would have taken effect when the contract was signed and last only till the end of the year – approximately four months.
Local 2429 members representing the city’s service, maintenance and clerical departments overwhelmingly voted to reject the administration’s offer.
Knox said we have shown our willingness to reach an agreement and sent the administration a list of dates to resume talks.
“We were here tonight to let city council see the faces of the people who work for the city. These are the people who put up the Christmas decorations downtown. And they will be the ones who will plow the snow off the streets. They deserve the city’s respect, not a lump of coal,” Knox said.
The union stands ready to reach a good-faith resolution and will not give up, union members said.