By AMANDA SMITH-TEUTSCH
The Niles Times
Both the city and the firefighters' union are waiting to see what happens next after two-thirds of the union membership voted down a three-year contract proposal the city says was aimed at avoiding layoffs.
"It's up to them," Mayor Ralph Infante said.
"It's up to the city if they'll negotiate or go to fact-finding," said Rodney Freel, firefighters' union representative.
Council accepted the proposed contract, which included a three-year wage freeze, an extra week of vacation, and a step period for full-time pay. New firefighters would have started out at 60 percent of the base pay of $49,500 and received 10 percent step increases for five years.
City income tax collections are likely going to be down $500,000 from last year; last year's collections were down $370,000 from 2007.
Council had approved the contract, but the 28-member union voted it down last week.
The city also is negotiating with its police union.