As you know, our local is made up of members who work for the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, Cook County, and the Illinois Secretary of State. Our contract with the City will end June 30, 2022. We just agreed to a one year extension on our Park District contract, which will now expire June 30, 2019. Our District Council’s contract with union contractors ends June 1, 2020 . Our contract with the County ends November 30, 2020, and our contract with the Secretary of State expires June 30, 2019.
Some of our members, mainly Watchmen, make a wage negotiated directly with the City. These members will receive a 2.25% raise on 1/1/19, a 2% raise on 1/1/20, a 2.25% raise on 1/1/21, and a 2% raise on 1/1/22. Additionally, some members, mainly Traffic Enforcement Technicians, Safety Specialists, and District Clerk positions are on the City’s salary schedule, These members get the same raises as the Watchmen but they also move up the salary schedule as their seniority increases. Most of our members make the “prevailing”, or “area standards” wage, which is a construction wage historically based on the wage negotiated between our District Council and the union contractors in the Chicagoland area.
The prevailing wage is based on the rate negotiated between our District Council and union contractors because a huge percentage of the construction work in the area is union work. Therefore, our union wage “prevails”. It is the area standard because we are a strong union and do our best to make sure almost all construction work in the area is done by union laborers. If our union is ever weakened, we would lose our ability to enforce the prevailing wage. Fly-by-night contractors would get away with paying laborers less money (the prevailing wage in Texas, for example, is $10.35 an hour), and since we make whatever the prevailing wage is, our wage would immediately go down.
This is no joke. Our salaries and the livelihoods we provide for our families are at stake. Every year, big money groups on the right wing try to turn us into Texas. If you want to make $10 an hour, head to Houston. This is Chicago, and we stand together and make sure we are paid what we are owed.
The prevailing wage is certified by the Illinois Department of Labor in June of each year, and then appears on our checks in July. Some of our groups, like our members at the County, receive a pay check sometime this winter that covers the raise retroactive to July 1.
Now for the good news: at our District Council allocation meeting this morning, an additional $1.00/hour was allocated to wages. Therefore, effective July 1, members making the prevailing wage will get a raise of $1.00/hour. The raise for Apprentices will be based on what level the Apprentice has attained. For instance, an Apprentice making 80% of the full prevailing wage will see an increase of $0.80/hour.
Please remember that Bruce Rauner wants to drastically cut our pay, and will continue to make multiple attempts to do so. We must stand together, prove our value to the citizens we serve, and work to elect candidates who recognize that value. United we will continue to move forward.