City delays budget vote after Teamsters delay contract vote
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Monday the South Bend Common Council announced it would delay its vote on the budget because of last minute changes. Tuesday we learned another reason for the delay - a union vote.
The vote happens Tuesday and Wednesday and will affect about 250 city employees.
With a three year contract offer in hand, the local Teamsters were ready to put the matter in front of their union members last week.
"Everything that we did in this negotiation was a positive move," said Jim Szucs, Teamsters Business Agent Local Union 364.
Then everything stopped.
Rank and file members of the union, hourly workers in nearly every department in the city of South Bend, started to hear about big raises the mayor wanted to hand out - just not to them.
"The proposals to give high percentage increases to some administrative employees did raise some concern in the rank and file because those percentage increases were much larger than the percentage increases that were offered to them," said Szucs.
"That pay range, while the percentage may be significant in some cases; the actual dollar, the dollars are within a range of anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to approximately $22,000," said City Controller Mark Neal.
Neal says the raises are necessary.
"The effort here is one of trying to be both fiscally responsible, but also knowing that the keys here. We're looking to make sure we are retaining as well able to recruit the talent we need to run the city," said Neal.
The teamsters say they talked with Mayor Pete Buttigieg in a last minute meeting that delayed their vote on the new contract.
"I think that meeting helped. It did help people get some things off their chest that they didn't understand when they saw some articles in the media. We'll see now what happens at the conclusion of our vote on Wednesday," said Szucs.
In letters, union members have stated how upset they are with the mayor's decision on pay raises and who gets them.
Some of them feel undervalued by Buttigieg and his administration and have insinuated that the union could reject the mayor's offer on principle.