Forest Park clerical union employees agreed to forgo their raises for two more months due to COVID-19 financial difficulties faced by the village.

At the Nov. 9 village council meeting, Mayor Rory Hoskins and the four commissioners voted unanimously to approve the side letter agreement between the village and AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), which includes village clerical staff.

The agreement specifies that AFSCME employees will forgo 2.5 percent raises for another two months, through Dec. 31, 2020.

The village agrees not to lay off any union employees before Jan. 1, 2021. Work hours and schedules may be changed, though a full-time employee’s hours can’t be reduced per pay period by more than eight hours. To avoid a reduction in work hours, duties outside an employee’s normal job description may be assigned.

Since the pandemic hit, this is the third side letter agreement entered into between the village and AFSCME, which has agreed to similar terms – including a raise freeze – twice already. Raises were initially due on May 1, but AFSCME agreed to postpone them until Aug. 1. The union then agreed to a second raise freeze through Oct. 31. In total, AFSCME has put their raises on hold for eight months.

In May, the firefighters’ union, Local 2753, agreed to postpone their 2.5 percent raises due May 1, as did the automobile mechanics’ union, which only included one employee. The police department negotiated a 1.75 percent raise effective May 1 instead of the 2.75 percent raise promised in their contract.

In August, the firefighters and AFSCME agreed to freeze raises a second time, through Oct. 31.

AFSME’s raises will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.