EAST PALESTINE — Two unions in the village have agreed to a wage freeze for next year.

Council approved emergency legislation last week implementing the wage freeze for both the Teamsters Local 377 and FOP unions. The freeze was the result of a decision reached during the annual wage reopeners between the village and the unions.

Police Lt. Don Johnson said after the meeting that the wage freeze was a mutual decision reached by both the village and union. The freeze will affect the five full-time officers and two full-time dispatchers represented by the FOP.

The Teamsters union represents street, park and waste department employees plus clerical employees in the water department.

Council approved the legislation with no discussion during the meeting.

The wage freeze is being implemented in the midst of council discussions regarding the overall financial state of the village. Residents are being asked to approve a .5 percent income tax increase in May.

According to the legislation, the wage freeze will not apply to any raise in pay that results from an increase due under the current contract, such as longevity, etc. The legislation also states that in the event any pay raise is given to any employee which is not due under current terms of the contracts, the wage negotiations will re-open between the union and the village.

The FOP and Teamsters unions last received wage increases in 2017 — at which time 2 percent wage increases were awarded to union members and the remaining non-union employees, who were village manager Pete Monteleone, former police Chief Kevin Dickey, fire chief Josh Brown and finance director Traci Thompson.

The 2017 increase amounted to a total of $33,585 for the year.

The unions also received 2 percent pay raises in 2016, the first year of their five year contracts.

In other business, council also approved:

— An ordinance authorizing the village manager to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Developmental Services Agency, office of Community Development, for the local administration of revolving loan funds for the Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) program.

— An ordinance authorizing finance director Traci Thompson to make supplemental appropriations for the village.

Katie White Morning Journal News Jan 2019