Fire merger uncertain after union vote

By ANDREA POTEET

Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE – The future of a planned merger of the city’s fire department with that of Dearborn is uncertain after a union vote Monday.

The Melvindale fire union, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1728 voted against merging its union with Dearborn’s, union president Dennis Shultz said.

Shultz said the union had been in favor of the merger, talks of which began heating up in the fall, but a plan presented by Dearborn disregarded the seniority of Melvindale’s current firefighters.

“Dearborn’s proposal was to put our seniority below theirs on each rank,” he said. “We felt that wasn’t fair.”

The plan included Dearborn absorbing Melvindale’s 15 firefighters and its station, but keeping the firefighters, who would work from the station and increase their daily staffing by one firefighter per shift.

Schultz said the union would consider other proposals from Dearborn, and Melvindale officials are still discussing a possible merger between the two cities.

“It doesn’t mean this is a dead issue,” Shultz said. “It just may come at us from a different direction. We’re not saying ‘no,’ we’re just saying ‘no’ to the terms we were proposed.”

City Administrator Jim Beri did not return calls seeking comment by press time.

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