After eight months of negotiations, the Forest Park Village Council and the union representing village clerical workers have agreed on a three-year contract.

The village council voted unanimously, Jan. 14, to approve the contract with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3026, replacing the contract that expired April 30, 2018. 

Under the contract, employees will receive a 1 percent salary increase, retroactive to May 2018, then increases of 2 percent in May 2019, and 2.5 percent in May 2020. The increases are the same for step employees and non-step employees. Similar salary increases were included in contracts approved in May 2018 with Automobile Mechanics Local 701, which represents the village’s one mechanic, and Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753, which represents firefighters.

Commissioner Joe Byrnes commended staff members for their efforts on the contract.

“I want to thank the negotiation team who put in some hard work on this thing,” he said. “Everybody is in agreement that it’s a good contract for both sides.”

“Overall it’s a fair deal for the village and for the union,” Mayor Anthony Calderone said. “We continue to bring parity to wages with all our bargaining units.”

For the first time, the contract includes four police communications clerks who were previously represented by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council. The communications clerk position was created as part of the process of the village joining the West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center (WSCDC) in May 2017 to meet a state mandate. At that time, the village’s 911 center closed, police dispatchers employed by the village were hired by WSCDC, and the police dispatcher position was eliminated.  

Village officials explained previously that the clerical duties of the new position are more in line with other village clerical workers who are represented by AFSCME. Communications clerks have been represented by Local 3026 under a memorandum of understanding with the union approved in October 2017.

The new contract removes the requirement that employees who are not members of Local 3026 must pay a fair share fee to the chapter for collective bargaining and contract administration services. In the Janus vs. AFSCME case concerning the power of labor unions to collect fees from non-union members, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that such union fees in the public sector violate the First Amendment, overturning a 1977 decision that had previously allowed such fees.

Also new to the contract is a clause allowing the village to reopen negotiations if action by the state of Illinois restricts Forest Park’s revenue collections. Specifically, the village could reopen negotiations if the formula used to determine the village’s state-shared revenue from the Local Government Distributive Fund is reduced by 10 percent or more or if property taxes are frozen by action of the Illinois General Assembly.

Calderone said inclusion of the clause was suggested by the village’s legal representatives and noted that officials in neighboring municipalities also are including such language in their union contracts. 

Except for communications clerks, paid holidays for full-time permanent employees are New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Full-time communication clerks will receive 80 hours of holiday leave, to be added to a holiday bank, regardless of whether the employee worked on the actual holiday. Holiday leave is to be utilized with prior permission from the chief of police or designee. All holiday leave must be used by Dec. 31 of each year or else forfeited.

Village Administrator Tim Gillian said no changes were made to vacation or health insurance benefits, noting that other changes were due to “language cleanups.”

In addition to communications clerks, the AFSCME contract covers over 30 employees, mostly full-time clerical workers. Positions covered 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.

Police officers represented by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 211 continue to work without a contract. The previous contract expired April 30, 2018. Gillian said negotiations are continuing, noting the village is “getting close with them.”

Office staff worked nine months without a contract before reaching an agreement in February 2016, and police officers worked two years without a contract before reaching an agreement in May 2017.

The contract between the village and Teamsters Local 705, which represents public works employees, does not expire until April 30, 2010. The contract with Automobile Mechanics Local 701 expires April 30, 2021 and the contract with Firefighters Local 2753 expires April 30, 2022.