Trustees OK new contract with fire union

HOWLAND — Township trustees have approved a new three-year contract with the fire department union that will include a 1 percent pay increase in the first year for 25 full-time firefighters.

Township Administrator Darlene St. George said at a June 30 special meeting the contract with Ohio Professional Firefighters Association Local 2786 includes the same pay increase as contracts approved recently with the township police department and the public works department, which represents township road workers.

The cost of the 1 percent wage increase for employees of all three unions will be $30,000 annually, St. George said.

The fire agreement goes into effect today and grants a 1 percent pay increase in the first year. There are zero increases in the second and third years, but St. George said there is a reopener clause for wages in both the second and third years of the agreements.

George also said the township no longer will pay the employee retirement contribution of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System pension. In the past, the township has covered the employees’ pickup, but after today, the township only will pay its portion and the employee contribution will be rolled back into the employees’ salaries. Employees contribute 10.75 percent.

The fire union sent a letter to St. George stating it also approved the fire contract this week.

Trustee Chairman Rick Clark said the township no longer contributing to the employees’ retirements was a mutual agreement reached during negotiations.

”We appreciate the great working relationship we have with the labor unions in the township. They are easy to work with on contract negotiations and health care and workers compensation,” Clark said.

The police union represents 19 employees and the road workers union represents 11 employees.

Trustees on Friday also approved an agreement with the volunteer fire department to provide volunteer fire protection and emergency medical services for one year through June 30, 2018, at the cost of $1.