STOW: At its meeting Thursday, City Council voted to approve a proposal that would give non-union employees a 1.5 percent COLA increase for 2013 and a 2 percent increase for 2014.
Every three years the city negotiates contracts with five unions. As part of the negations, the unions have agreed to pay an increase for health insurance and the city has agreed to pay for the COLA.
According to councilman Mike Rasor, the city has an ordinance in place that automatically applies the union’s healthcare contribution changes to the non-union employees.
However, the ordinance does not apply the cost of living adjustments to the non-union employees.
Mayor Sara Drew expressed her concerns about the possibility of creating a disparity among city union and nonunion employees should the legislation not be approved.
Planning Department Executive Secretary Pamela Daerr addressed council with her concerns about not passing the legislation.
"I would like to ask Council, why the non-bargaining unit of employees are treated like we are of no value," Daerr said in her statement to council. "The feeling that is projected to the public is that we are not deserving of an increase and that we don't work hard enough to even deserve one."
Daerr said that not passing the legislation would "deeply affect the quality of life" for all of the non-union employees who worked for the city as the legislation affects their retirement benefits.
The next council meeting will be on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in council chambers at Stow City Hall.