Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Village reaches agreement with union


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Ontonagon – The Ontonagon Village Council Monday approved a new agreement with the AFSCME Union, which represents the village public works employees.

Village Manager Joe Erickson explained the contract changes are effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Erickson explained the details of the contract, which include:

—Elimination of the safety bonus and the equivalent of $150 will be rolled into wages.

—Group life insurance was increased to $10,000.

—Boot and work clothes allowance of $125 each were combined into one reimbursement account of $250.

—Due to health insurance increases of 16.35 percent, there will be no wage increases for 2018, and for 2019 no wage increases and the village maintains the health insurance for the year. In the event the health insurance increases by more than 20 percent the contract may be reopened. Erickson said the overall impact of the contract is a 2 percent increase in total employee compensation per year.

The council also approved a resolution asking federal legislators and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work to make the harbor available to commercial shipping and open for the safety of all vessels on Lake Superior.

The council noted the “fate of Lake Shore Systems, SynSel Biofuels production and future copper mining in Ontonagon” may “well depend upon the Ontonagon Harbor to be successful and help rebuild the economy of the Ontonagon harbor.” Erickson was asked to send copies of the resolution to the Ontonagon County Board and local townships.

Vicki James asked the council to approve a request she made last month and open up access to the marina area for winter sports and activities. She appeared before the Recreation Commission and noted it had approved such a move, but did not want to fund the extra money it would cost.

Village trustee Mike Mogan noted that Ontonagon is a four-season area and the marina parking lot should be open.

Resident William Johnson reminded the council about the young girl who fell into the cold River last week and commended the Michigan state police trooper who rescued her and took her to the hospital in time to save her life.

In other action, the village council:

—Heard the M-64 bridge lights with new LED’s will be up shortly.

—Reported winter parking restrictions are now in effect.