Union May Redraw Contract Clauses
Members of the city's largest public employees union are free to "attempt a reformulation" of their contract as long as the new package doesn't cost more, City Manager James L. Sullivan said last night.
Sullivan met with representatives of Local 195, Independent Public Employees Association last night after members of the union ended a three-day strike and returned to work, and again refused to renew negotiations, insisting that the city "has a valid contract."
"But if they want to switch around the terms with the proviso so that the amount the taxpayers have to pay doesn't increase, then they've got a customer," Sullivan said.
He added, however, that the union--which represents 900 employees in the public works departments, City Hospital orderlies, and much of the city's clerical staff--would have to ratify a new agreement before it presented it to the city.
Spokesmen for the union were unavailable for comment last night.
Representatives of the city and the union met in a midnight bargaining session Sunday night, shortly after workers began returning to their jobs.
Sullivan said he told the union that he "found their actions reprehensible. I told them it was an affront to the taxpayers of the city that they attempted to disrupt the 350th celebration, an event which would have been irretrievable if they had succeeded," he said.
"They said they wanted to adjust the economics, and I told them that was all right," Sullivan said.
The workers voted in early July to ratify a contract with the city, but in a second vote two weeks later rejected the same pact and called on the city to resume bargaining. City officials refused, pending a state decision on the validity of the original vote. That refusal prompted Friday's walkout.
A state court judge yesterday continued for ten days the temporary restraining order against the strike granted Saturday, and city solicitor Russell Higley promised last night that "if there's any more trouble, we will go back to court immediately to ask for sanctions."