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Elgin council approves public works union contract

Updated: November 27, 2012 10:41AM

ELGIN — The city council has approved a collective bargaining agreement for public works employees that provides for a 2 percent wage increase in 2012 and a potentially bigger pay hike in 2013 and 2014.

Service Employees International Union Local 73 previously voted overwhelmingly to accept the contract’s terms. According to information provided by Elgin administrative intern Laura Valdez, the 2012 wage increase is retroactive to Dec. 19, 2011, which starts the first pay period for 2012.

The agreement also allows the city to use GPS and/or other locating technology data as evidence for all disciplinary or other lawful purposes. According to Valdez, this is consistent with similar provisions in the city’s collective bargaining agreements with police and fire, and does not constitute a substantial change.

This was the first raise in three years for these workers. Longtime workers also will see a new bonus provision that grants those with more than 15 years of service an additional $750 per year, with an increase to $1,500 for 35 years or more on the job.

While the city now has contracts in place with unionized police and public works, two agreements remain in limbo.

According to Valdez, the city conducted a mediation-arbitration with the SEIU clerical-technical unit during the spring relating to the agreement that expired in 2010. An arbitration hearing is scheduled for next month.

“The primary economic issue is the city’s proposal to extend the agreement for one year with a zero percent wage increase in 2011. All collective bargaining units in the city agreed to a zero percent increase in 2011 with the exception of the SEIU clerical-technical unit,” Valdez stated in an email.

The 2 percent public works increase is the same the city granted police in its most recent contracts. The SEIU contract has a clause that allows its pay hikes to at least match those given in other city-union contracts. The council also approved a 2 percent bump in pay this year for non-bargaining workers to match the other raises.

As such, raises for public works in 2013 and 2014 could be higher, depending on what is agreed to with police, fire and clerical workers for those years.

The city’s contract with Elgin Association of Firefighters Union Local 439 expired Dec. 31, 2011. Negotiations between the city and that union are in arbitration and, according to city staff, the next meeting on the matter is set for this Wednesday.

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