The Shaker Heights IAFF 516 submitted a letter to the city Feb. 11 condemming what it says is movement toward a University Heights-Shaker Heights fire department consolidation without involving the two cities' fire unions.
"IAFF Local 516 has repeatedly asked, and subsequently repeatedly been denied, to be a part of the process, to have questions and concerns identified and to work collectively with both City Administration and the leadership of University Heights Firefighters IAFF Local 974."
Mayor Earl Leiken said the city has "kept the unions advised" of the two councils' actions so far. He added that the unions were not involved with how to structure the MOU because it does not address labor concerns - such as wages, hours or working conditions.
"The issues that we have been dealing with at this point have been issues relating to the financial arrangements between the cities, the composition of the council of governance — and those are all management business issues."
He added that the councils intend to involve the unions more if an agreement outlining the management issues is reached.
The unions' counsel Susannah Muskovitz told Patch that the unions heard about a memorandum of understanding outlining the format of the two cities' agreement only the morning that it was released to the public.
"The city's decision to move ahead without them is troubling," she said Feb. 1, when the city released the MOU. "They have made it very clear to the mayor and city council and the administration from day one that they want to be part of the process, that they have a lot to offer, that if they're are excluded from the process it could cause problems."
City officials initially said that they hope to reach an agreement by March, but Leiken said today that the timeline may be pushed back.