Forest Park’s Teamsters Local 705 officially has a contract, as the village council unanimously approved the collective bargaining agreement on Nov. 23 at a regularly scheduled meeting. The union’s previous contract expired on April 30, 2020, so the Teamsters union, which consists of the village’s public works employees, went almost seven months without a contract in place.

The agreement is effective through April 30, 2023.

For employees hired before May 1, 2020, a 2 percent increase to the hourly pay rate will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, a 2.25 percent increase on May 1, 2021, and a 2.5 percent increase on May 2, 2022. At that point, the hourly rate for the “chauffeurs operating heavy equipment” classification, which is the majority of the public works employees, will be at $32.12. For “Class C water operators,” of which there are two, according to Village Administrator Tim Gillian, the hourly rate will be $37.16 by May 2, 2022.

Employees hired after May 1, 2020, will be paid a percentage of those hourly rates based on years of employment, starting at 80 percent for their first year and rising to 100 percent starting at the employee’s eighth year of employment.

The village will pay an employee with an arborist license certification an annual $250 stipend as Chief Arborist, a new addition to the contract over previous agreements, according to Gillian.

Working hours for the union are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with an hour off for lunch, one half of which is paid. Time and a half is paid for all work over 40 hours, Monday through Friday, and for time worked on Saturdays as well.

Paid days off are New Year’s Day, Washington’s birthday, Martin Luther King’s birthday, Christmas, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Fourth of July. Employees who work on those days will be paid double time.

Each employee will be reimbursed $300 for work boots over the three years of the contract.

At the Nov. 23 village council meeting, Gillian said he’s proud of the contract and work done on both sides to make it come together.

“When both groups can walk out and feel good about the agreement, that’s a good sign. There were a lot of delays due to not being able to meet in person and COVID. At the end of the day, we’ve got what is a reasonable agreement for both sides,” Gillian said.