The Forest Park Village Council voted unanimously at its June 12 meeting to approve a three-year contract with Teamsters Local Union 705, which represents 15 of the village’s public works employees. 

The previous contract expired April 30. All union workers in the village are now under contract. 

Village Administrator Tim Gillian said the contract is “right in line” with the village’s last several contracts with other unions. The new contract, Gillian added, contains no major changes in vacation, holidays, sick leave or overtime although there are a few minor language tweaks.

“I am proud of the members at Forest Park Public Works for fighting for a fair and equitable contract,” Juan Campos, Local 705 secretary treasurer, said in a June 15 statement to the Review. “We were able to improve wages, working conditions and secure health benefits.” 

Public works employees worked for two months without a contract. That’s a three-month decrease from the previous contract negotiations. Before reaching an agreement with the village in September 2014, public works employees worked for five months without a contract. Another group of village employees — police officers — worked two years without a contract before the village agreed to a three-year contract with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 24 in May.

The union has already approved the new contract, which provides public works employees with a salary increase of 1.75 percent for the first year, retroactive to April 30, then increases of 1.5 percent for each of the following two years. Salary increases under the previous contract were 2.25 percent in each of the first two years and 2 percent in the third year.

Under the new contract, the salary of heavy equipment operators will be $29.18 per hour until May 1, 2018, when it increases to $29.62 per hour. On May 1, 2019, it will increase to $30.06. The salary for a Class C water operator will be $33.73 per hour until May 1, 2018, when it will increase to $34.24. On May 1, 2019, it will rise to $34.75.

Public works employees are covered by Teamsters health insurance and are not covered by the village’s policy. Under terms of the new contract, the village will pay $368 per week per employee to the Local Union 705 Health and Welfare Fund, effective May 1, 2017. That contribution will increase to $388 on May 1, 2018, and to $408 on May 1, 2019. The village had previously been paying $328 per week per employee.

Paid holidays are New Year’s, Washington’s Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Decoration Day, Christmas, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Independence Day. Each employee is eligible to take two paid personal days.

The other four union contracts covering village employees expire April 30, 2018.