WARREN Council rejects WMA contract

This is the second time the city turned down a contract with the management association.
WARREN -- The city will go back to the bargaining table with 23 management employees after lawmakers took issue with a proposed contract provision to eventually pay all the employees' pension fund shares.
City council voted 10-0 Wednesday to turn down the contract with Warren Management Association.
The union covers midlevel managers and a few department heads, including Christopher Stephenson, who runs Packard Music Hall, and David Robison, the director of engineering who also acts as interim community development director.
Strike potential: The group could strike after giving the appropriate notice, but officials said they expect negotiations to resume.
Union representatives could not be reached.
The city said the proposal would have cost more than $261,459 over the life of the contract.
The city is required by the state to pay a share of employees' pensions. The share differs, depending on the employees.
Employees also pay a share, but the city has picked up that portion for some employees during past negotiations.
This is the second time the city has turned down a proposed contract with WMA.
This one also called for 4 percent raises the first year, 4 percent the second year and 3 percent the third year.
Good faith: Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd, said council's rejection of the WMA contract is no reflection on management employees, who he said have been bargaining in good faith.
Instead, the decision was based on finances. Novak said legislators didn't want to set a precedent by offering full pension pickup, because other unions would want it, too.
The contract called for the city to pick up the full tab in thirds over three years.
John Homlitas, D-3rd, added that the city's financial woes could get worse, especially since the national economy has taken a hit in recent weeks.
Patrol officers: Two weeks ago, council nixed a pact that would have given the city's 42 patrol officers a 4.5 percent raise each year for three years.
That contract would have also required the city to pay an amount equal to 5 percent of each officer's wage to the state's pension program. That amount would have gone up to 10 percent in 2002.
Officials and legislators said the city cannot afford to do that, so the police union and the city are going back to the table.