IRON RIVER— City officials will hire specialized legal counsel to handle upcoming labor contract negotiations.
With Michigan’s new Right to Work laws taking effect March 27, City Manager Perry Franzoi and civil council Mark Tousignant agreed experienced labor attorneys are needed.
“I think you should use someone who is specialized in this because there have been so many changes in the last two years,” Tousignant told council members during the regular meeting Feb. 20.
Franzoi recommended the council hire a law firm soon so city officials could confer with legal counsel.
“I’d like to get someone on board so we can be ready when we go into these negotiations,” Franzoi said.
Department of Public Works and Iron River Police Department contracts expire June 30, Franzoi said. Negotiations could open as soon as April 1.
“Given our fringe benefit rate and cost of benefits, it is my recommendation that we hire experienced people in these areas to represent the city in an attempt to achieve the best possible financial outcome for the city,” Franzoi said in a written recommendation.
When Iron River last used a labor attorney, it spent $37,000. Franzoi hopes that passage of legislation barring retroactive wage payments will speed negotiations.
Questions regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Michigan’s Right to Work Act and other legislative changes may result in a contract term shorter than the current three year agreement.
Franzoi had sent requests for proposals to four legal firms. During a Feb. 20 City Council meeting, Franzoi was authorized to retain Mika, Meyers, Beckett and Jones for negotiations with AFSCME and POAM union representative.
The motion to hire a labor attorney was passed by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Al Perlongo casting the dissenting vote.