New leadership of MFPD union seeks extension of expired pact

By KAREN CALLANAN

Staff Reporter

New leaders of Local 1889 of the International Association of Fire Fighters are requesting that the Mehlville Fire Protection Dis-trict’s Board of Directors extend the union’s expired memorandum of understanding until a new agreement is negotiated.

Chris Francis, the new president of Local 1889, told the Call that the union recently submitted a letter to the Board of Directors and and administration that requested an extension of the three-year memorandum of un-derstandingÊbetween the union and the board. The memorandum was approved in 1999 and covered 2000, 2001 and 2002.ÊIt expired at the end of last year.

Since then, union employees have been working without a memorandum, which covers employees of the district in the bargaining unit comprised of privates, engineers, paramedics, lieutenants, captains, mechanics. maintenance men, payroll clerk, purchasing agent, inspectors and inspection office secretary. Other district employees are not included.

Brian Reinhardt, Local 1889 past president, announced during the Sept. 30 Board of Directors meeting that this was the first time that the union would have no monetary proposals to offer, and that the union was ready to begin negotiations. The union also announced Nov. 11 that it would concede its fifth vacation slot, so that only four employees could go on vacation at one time in an effort to reduce the district’s over-time costs.

While “negotiations” were conducted during closed sessions in October and No-vember and during the Dec. 23 Board of Directors meeting, further discussions have not since been on the agenda. Francis confirmed that the union still has no negotiation items to bring to the table, but the administration might have some issues.

The union has not heard anything more from the board or administration, and that is why it submitted its request to work under the old memorandum, Francis said.

Board of Directors Chairman Tom O’Dris-coll told the Call it is a concern that the district has not agreed to be under a new memorandum, although the board has not voted yet to extend the old memorandum.

The board chairman said he believed the administration and union still had some concerns to address.

“It is not any of the board members’ in-tention to take away any benefits, so if it takes a little longer to negotiate, then so be it,” O’Driscoll said.

However, he said he expected an agreement will be reached sometime soon.

The district’s media liaison, Deputy Chief Steve Mossotti, told the Call that he has not been made privy to the negotiations, and could not comment on the ad-ministration’s behalf.

The chief is the only member of the administration who has been involved in the negotiations, Mossotti said.

Chief Ray Haddock was unavailable for comment before the Call’s press time.

Local 1889 has been in the process of electing new officers for 2003, and will conclude its elections with a vote for a new secretary at its March meetings this week – after the Call went to press.

Francis was the union’s secretary before his election as president. Other officers in-clude Vice President Steve Strobl, Treasurer Doug Weck and Sergeant-at-Arms Jim Kornhardt.

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