The Ottumwa Courier

January 15, 2013

City rejects firefighter contract proposal

Both sides will make final offer, then arbitration if needed

CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — The city and firefighters’ union were once again unable to come to an agreement on the union’s contract.

City Attorney Joni Keith said during the City Council’s closed session Tuesday night, the councilmen came to a unanimous decision to reject the fire department’s offer and re-offer the city’s October 2012 proposal as its final offer. The vote confirming the decision was held in open session.

Councilman Jeremy Weller made the motion, Councilman Bob Meyers seconded it and all councilmen voted to approve the motion.

Now, both the city and fire will make their final offer and if those are rejected, they will proceed to arbitration. Jack Reed, negotiator for the Ottumwa Association of Professional Firefighters Local 395, International Association of Firefighters (AFL-CIO-CIC), told Keith that he would submit his request for arbitration Tuesday.

The arbitrator will listen to both sides of the table and make a decision, establishing a one-year contract.

The details of the offers were discussed in closed session as allowed by the Iowa Open Meetings and Public Records laws.

“It is what it is,” said Fire Chief Tony Miller. “They have their issues, we have our issues and we can’t agree so we’ll take it to an arbitrator and let them decide.”

Gary Doud, Ottumwa firefighter and president of the union, previously told the Courier that the union would agree to everything in the city’s proposal but they want to apply the proposed 2 percent pay increase on a “sliding scale” versus across the board.

All other city bargaining unit contracts (library, municipal, police and public works) have been settled.