Unlike in Springfield, there’s no labor strife in Forest Park, following agreement between the village and the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

While Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner goes toe-to-toe with the largest state employee union, Forest Park and AFSCME Local 3026 have approved a three-year contract, retroactive to May 2015.

The Forest Park Village Council voted unanimously to approve the contract at Monday’s meeting, following previous approval by the union.

Village Administrator Tim Gillian explained that the contract is “right in line” with the village’s last several contracts. The village approved a contract with the union representing its firefighters Local 2753 in September but is still negotiating with its police union. 

Under the new contract, employees will receive a 1.5 percent salary increase, retroactive to May 2015, then increases of 1.75 percent in May 2016, and 2.25 percent in May 2017. The increases are the same for step employees and non-step employees.

In addition, health insurance options for new employees will be restricted to a health maintenance organization (HMO) or high-deductible plan (HDP). Current employees will continue to have those two options and a preferred provider organization (PPO).

Employees will continue to pay 15 percent for the premium cost for the HMO plan and 17 percent of the cost for the PPO and HDP plans. Coverage options under all plans include single, employee plus spouse, employee plus children, and family.

Although this contract does not extend beyond 2018, negotiators inserted language regarding terms of the Affordable Care Act that are scheduled to take effect in 2020. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, in addition to the standard employee premium contribution, employees enrolled in the PPO plan will pay the excise tax for high cost coverage, the so-called “Cadillac tax.”  

“The collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME reflects a modest wage increase and concession on some health care provisions,” Gillian told the council. “I am grateful to AFSCME for its willingness to conduct fair negotiations in order to meet a favorable outcome for all concerned.”

Although there was no discussion of the terms of the contract, Commissioner Joseph Byrnes commended staff members for their efforts.

“Here’s another example of our staff sitting down and getting the job done,” he said. “I commend everybody on this one.”

The contract covers 28 village employees, 19 full-time and nine part-time, mostly in clerical positions. Administration employee classifications include switchboard, head cashier, accounts payable, accounts receivable and utility billing. Information management employee classifications include civilian parking clerk, civilian records clerk, full-time and part-time civilian parking enforcement officer and part-time class taker. Other employee classifications include Fire Department secretary, assistant clubhouse coordinator, clubhouse coordinator, Pace dial-a-ride driver, administrative secretary, secretary/clerk, building inspector, senior building inspector, custodian and special events coordinator.

Employees continued to work under the terms of the previous contract after it expired on April 30, 2015, which has happened previously. In 2012, the contract expired April 30 and the new contract was not approved until October.