Dispatchers union, Kettering end contract fight

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Negotiations, mediation had failed; fact finder largely backs city, says union is at ‘top of the pay range’

A fact finder’s report largely favoring the city of Kettering on pay raises and other issues for its dispatchers’ union has been accepted by both sides.

The recommendations by Dayton attorney John F. Lenehan call for basic annual pay hikes of 2.5% in each of the first two years for the Kettering Association of Dispatchers and a 2.25% increase in the final 12 months, numbers the city proposed.

The pay raise for this year would be retroactive to May 24, a day after the previous three-year deal expired, the report states. City negotiators wanted the increase to be effective upon the contract’s signing.

The 12-member union sought annual basic pay increases of 3.5% retroactive to May 24. But it voted earlier this week to accept the report after talks with the city “and they’ve agreed to offer some additional items” involving holidays and time off, said attorney Stephen Lazarus, who represented the dispatchers.

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Kettering City Council has voted to accept the findings and recommendations.

“The major elements of the fact-finding report are obviously the wages, and the fact finder did select the city’s proposal,” Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said.

“But then again, that proposal is consistent with our other union contracts. And then the fact finder opted not to make changes to other financial-related terms and there were a number of them,” he added.

A fact finder earlier this year recommended the same annual pay increases for the union representing more than 70 Kettering firefighters. The result was a three-year deal with the International Association of Firefighters Local 2150.

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The report involving the dispatchers’ union said members “are well compensated. They are at the top of the pay range for dispatchers from comparable jurisdictions, locally and statewide.”

“Based upon the evidence submitted, the dispatchers in the bargaining unit have been fairly compensated,” according to Lenehan’s opinion. “The union’s proposed increases of 3.5% cannot be justified …”

Lenehan also recommended no changes on some time off and insurance issues, decisions which favored the city.

Negotiations started April 26, and three sessions were held through Aug. 13, records show. The parties were unable to reach agreement at the bargaining table and proceeded to mediation, which was unsuccessful, according to the report.

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