By Ralph Echtinaw
The city has requested a mediator to help settle a contract dispute with electrical workers, whose contract expires June 30.
City Manager Kurt Giles told councilmen Tuesday that negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have reached an impasse.
“We’ve sent a request to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission for mediation assistance,” Giles said via email. “At this point, we are awaiting assignment of a mediator. Once one is assigned, we plan to schedule an in-person session with the mediator and both negotiating parties present.”
The city’s four electricians are already the highest paid hourly workers on the payroll and received a 2 percent pay increase in each of the last three years. The top tier wage for an electrician is currently $31.91. They can supplement that by accumulating sick time which the city will buy back at the rate of 50 percent of the workers’ regular hourly rate.
Electricians also get $800 a year to buy work clothes and $150 a year for boots.
Though Water, Wastewater and Public Works employees are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as well, their talks with the administration are progressing, Giles said. Their contract expires on June 30, too.
June 5 pool opening in jeopardy
The June 5 opening of the W.T. Morris swimming pool will be pushed back if a job to replace 80 square feet of tile isn’t completed in time.
The contract was awarded to A.R. Peters Pool Painting (for $10,000) after Mann Painting failed to submit a bid.
But Andy Peters told DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott that he has gotten busy of late, and finishing the pool before June 5 may be a problem.
The job is more likely to be completed on time if the weather warms up, Abbott said Peters said.
Councilmen approved a route for this year’s “senior cruise” of the St. Louis High School graduating class.
The 70 graduates will board cars at the middle school following an outdoor ceremony at the high school football field. The cars will proceed west on River Court, north on Main, south on Mill and east on Saginaw to the high school parking lot.
The cruise is expected to begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 27.
Streets will not be closed, but personnel from the St. Louis Police Department, Gratiot County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police (Lakeview post) and the St. Louis Fire Department will “play leapfrog” to stop traffic, said Police Chief Richard J. Ramereiz Jr.
Work is expected to begin this month on a new basketball court for Lincoln Park.
All Season Builders of Mt. Pleasant got the contract for $9,033. A grant from the Gratiot Community Foundation covers $7,500 of that.
Councilman Roger Collison, who lives near Lincoln Park is pleased. “It will get a lot of use, I’m sure,” he said. “Even in the winter kids will shovel it off.”
Rich Apps Day
Councilmen voted to make May 10 Rich Apps appreciation day.
The longtime fire chief retired late last year. A proclamation mentioned Apps’ “extraordinary record of service to the city of St. Louis and townships of Bethany, Jasper and Pine River.”
Apps was a member of the fire department for 38 years including 10 years as a lieutenant and 20 years as chief.
“Chief Apps will leave a legacy of community pride in the St. Louis Area Fire Department which has been a vital part of public safety throughout his career,” said the proclamation.
A retirement party for Apps will occur that same day.