Chicago passes SEIU Local 73, IBEW Local 21 contract

By Pat Barcas
Staff Writer
Thursday, Oct. 11

     CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council approved a new four-year contract agreement Oct. 2 with the SEIU Local 73 and IBEW Local 21 — which together comprise the Public Safety Employees Unit II bargaining unit, made up of 2,500 union workers.
     Unit II consists of approximately 2,100 employees represented by SEIU Local 73, as well as 400 employees represented by IBEW Local 21. The new agreement extends through June 30, 2016.
     “This is a practical, reasonable agreement that is good for the taxpayers, good for the workers, and good for the city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This agreement is a direct representation of the positive outcomes that result when both parties sit down and negotiate in good faith with the best interests of the city in mind.”
     The basic economic terms of the agreement are as follows:
     The employees will receive 1.5 percent raises Jan. 1, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014, and will receive 1 percent raises on Jan. 1, 2015; July 1, 2015; and Jan. 1, 2016. The agreement also will include a single lump sum payment for employees, payable 30 days after the agreement is ratified by the City Council. These payments will range from $150 to $500 per employee.
     In addition, the wage rates for full-time “entry-level” employees (during the first five years of employment), will be frozen at current levels during the term of the agreement, allowing these rates to be economically competitive with those in the private sector and elsewhere.
Such full-time employees will continue to be eligible for annual step increases.
     “The new agreement guarantees these dedicated employees wage increases over the four-year term, and continues the opportunity for public employees to provide critical public safety services to the residents of this great city,” said SEIU Local 73 Business Manager Matt Brandon. “I want to take this opportunity to thank Mayor Emanuel and the City’s negotiating team for removing the uncertainty of unpaid furlough days and unpaid holidays from the negotiating process. Although these were tough negotiations, I truly believe that this was an open and honest process that required both the city and the unions to make the necessary sacrifices that addressed the pressing concerns that this troubled economy has placed on the workers and the residents of the City of Chicago.”

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