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Negotiations With One-Man Union Become Most Expensive In Township History

February 3, 1989

AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ The suburban township of Copley is negotiating for a contract with a one- man firefighters union, and the town clerk says it is the most expensive contract bargaining the community has ever had.

Chief Fire Inspector James Rogers, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3130, formed the union with fiefighter Bruce Koellner last June. But Koellner resigned and the third eligible firefighter has declined to join.

Rogers wants a two-year contract for the three-person bargaining unit, with pay increases ranging from 5 percent to 20 percent the first year and 5 percent the second year. The township is offering a three-year contract with 3 percent increases each year.

Whatever Rogers gets out of the bargaining, township Clerk Helen Humphrys told the Akron Beacon Journal the talks were the most expensive ever for the township.

A law firm is negotiating for the township. The firm’s final bill has not yet been submitted, but the Beacon Journal reported today the tab will exceed $6,000.

’I think the monies for attorney’s fees could be better spent than to fight a one-man union,″ Rogers said.

Rogers said he wants the union’s wages to be competitive with Copley’s unionized police officers and with neighboring fire departments. Top pay for a Copley full-time firefighter-paramedic was $23,906 last year, compared with the top salary for a patrol officer of $25,765. The fire inspector’s position was paid $25,168 while a police sergeant was paid $28,433.

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