AFSCME Members Overwhelmingly Voted To Ratify Contract Today; Will Be Introduced For Council Approval

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 on Tuesday announced details of the tentative five-year agreement between the City of Chicago and the union representing more than 3,400 frontline city workers. AFSCME members voted overwhelmingly to ratify the contract earlier today.

The contract includes fair compensation and a provision that will help employees balance work and family, said Mayor Emanuel.

“This agreement is balanced and responsible. It represents the interests and needs of Chicago’s taxpayers and employees. It shows what is possible when we work together on behalf of the entire city,” Mayor Emanuel said. “It not only includes fair and reasonable compensation, but provides a new paid parental leave policy – a priority I have worked on from the beginning of my administration.”

“AFSCME-represented city employees provide important public services in every Chicago neighborhood. Like all working people, they deserve decent pay, affordable health care and fair treatment on the job,” AFSCME Council 31 executive director Henry Bayer said. “We’re pleased to reach an agreement that meets those goals.”

The new parental leave provision allows eligible employees to take paid parental leave as part of approved FMLA leave. This follows on the city’s first paid parental leave program instituted three years ago, allowing new mothers and families to take needed time off after a birth or adoption.

As part of the city’s efforts to reduce costs, the new contract includes an entry rate for any new hires, meaning they will have a starting salary that is 8 percent less than the entry rate stipulated by the previous contract.

The contract runs from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2017. It includes 2 percent cost-of-living increases for each year, which will be divided into installments as follows:

2013: 2% (Jan. 1 – 1%; July 1 – 1%)

2014: 2% (Jan. 1 – 1%; July 1 – 1%)

2015: 2% (Jan. 1 – 1%; July 1 – 1%)

2016: 2% (Jan. 1 – 1%; July 1 – 1%)

2017: 2% (Jan. 1 – 2%; agreement only runs through June 30)

This new contract also establishes a Joint Labor-Management Cooperation Committee to review current or future outsourcings and determine how the city and union can work together to develop alternatives to contracting out.

AFSCME members work in city libraries, health clinics and police precincts; they ensure clean drinking water, protect public health, serve the elderly and others in need, conduct restaurant safety inspections and much more.