By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – At Mayor Stacy Bazman’s suggestion, the City Council voted Dec. 21 to rescind American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees raises Dec. 27 unless the union signs its contract.
“AFSCME still hasn’t signed their contract,” Bazman said. “AFSCME keeps sending it back wanting to change length, change language, make adjustments, and it’s been a year. I don’t think it is appropriate that they are dragging out signing this while they are reaping the benefits of their raises.”
She said the union was asking to change language on parts of the contract that were not part of the negotiations.
“Frankly, their rep is not on my top 100 list of people, and they just aren’t really being cooperative,” Bazman said. “And I don’t know how to get them to come through, so I don’t think it’s fair that you are getting only the benefits of a contract but not doing what your obligation is.”
City Attorney Lawrence Coogan said there was language exchanged during a closed session with the City Council Dec. 21, and key issues and wording were resolved, even items that were not discussed during the negotiations.
“I would also like to have this contract signed before the end of the year,” Coogan said.
Bazman said she didn’t know how else to get AFSCME to sign the contract.
“I think that when you mess with people’s money, then maybe they are a little more compelled to cooperate,” she said. “There are items that they are proposing changes for that were not even a topic of negotiation. Some of it at this point is grammatical. They want a comma here. It’s just getting out of hand.”
Bazman said that on Dec. 22 she would direct Coogan and City Aministrator Richard Ortiz to present the council’s resolution demands to AFSCME.