Reynoldsburg reaches agreement with union
Concluding negotiations that began four years ago, the city of Reynoldsburg reached an agreement with United Steelworkers of America (USW) to grant raises to the union's workers.
In a special meeting on Sept. 21, the city council approved a contract that would retroactively increase the pay of the USW workers by 3 percent for 2008 and 3 percent for 2009.
Of the more than 100 city employees, only 17 belong to USW.
How much longer those 17 remain with the union is uncertain, Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud said.
During the years that USW workers waited for the union and the city to agree, the non-USW employees received raises.
Once the USW workers receive their checks with their back pay, they have the opportunity to leave the union, McCloud said.
"They may vote to leave or they may not vote," McCloud said. "It's up to them."
The council granted no additional compensation for 2006 and 2007, Councilman Mel Clemens said.
In other business, the council will decide on Sept. 28 whether or not to allow a church to open in a former Century City pool hall.
Several council members expressed concerns that the church planned to offer free after-school tutoring services and free substance abuse counseling in the same space.
Pastor Charles Robinson of Empowerment Worship Center (EWC) said the church made arrangements to use a local business for counseling so there would be "no conflict of interest" with the tutoring program.
Councilwoman Leslie Kelly said that any tutors should be fingerprinted, the church needed to ensure a manageable tutor-student ratio, and EWC must comply with state licensing for childcare.
"This has the potential to be wonderful, but it needs a very clear plan," Kelly said.
Kelly said that before the council could grant the church a variance that would allow them to operate in a commercial building, EWC needed to submit in writing "a clear plan an d a clear timeline."
In addition, EWC must undergo a probationary period in which the city would check its progress after three months and six months.
"In three months hopefully we will see the success you're having," Kelly said.
Clemens suggested that to be fair, the city should check all storefront churches to ensure they have the necessary variances.
"I don't want a situation where you do more than any other church," Clemens told Robertson.
The council first discussed the issue in June, but it was tabled until September due to clerical issues.
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