City, union employees renew contract

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The city of Sidney and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Ohio Council 8, Local 2429, (AFSCME) which is the city employees’ union, have come to an agreement on a contract.

Every three years, the contract for Sidney employees who are not police officers or firefighters is renegotiated and updated.

Vickie Allen, the city of Sidney’s human resources manager, said the only major changes in the new bargaining agreement are a 2 percent wage increase, the addition of two full-time Shelby Public Transit drivers and utility operators’ license bonus incentives.

The Shelby Public Transit’s public transportation system operates in the city of Sidney and throughout Shelby County with connecting service also available to Miami County. Allen said the transit did not have any full-time drivers covered by AFSCME until this contract. Over the last year, the transit’s two full-time drivers were paid according to an ordinance passed by council.

She said the change to add the full-time drivers was necessary as ridership is up. Employing two full-time drivers will also provide more “hours and stability for the department,” as part-time drivers generally don’t want a lot of hours.

The contract also included language from a memorandum of understanding which amended the previous contract, regarding water treatment, wastewater treatment and utilities equipment operators’ bonuses. Due to a lack of operators with higher-level class licences, the city offers incentives for full-time operators to go forward with their education.

Water and wastewater treatment operators who possess state of Ohio class I licences and go on to obtain class II licenses will receive a $250 bonus per year. If these operators then obtain a class III license, they will receive a $500 per year bonus. Also, current class II operators who obtain a class III license will also obtain a $500 per year bonus.

Prior to the last several years, Allen said, utilities equipment operators, the workers who maintain the underground pipes throughout the city, were not required to possess a license; however, the Ohio EPA now requires these workers to be certified.

Utilities equipment operators/laborers who obtain a state of Ohio class II license in utility distribution or utility collection will receive a $250 bonus per year. If utilities equipment operators/laborers obtain a class II license in both utility distribution and utility collection, they will receive a $500 per year bonus.

According to the contract, employees are eligible for the bonus only if they obtain licenses higher than what are required for the positions they currently hold.

The new agreement will be effective from Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2020.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.