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updated: 7/7/2011 3:48 PM

St. Charles gives raises to electrical workers

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St. Charles officials inked a new agreement with the city's electrical workers that will guarantee raises in each of the next four years.

The city council this week approved a new contract with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union members employed by the city. There are about 15 city employees in the union.

The contract calls for the workers to receive 3 percent raises in each of the next four years. The current pay for the average union lineman is $41.91 per hour.

Payscale.com ranks the Chicago area as the second-highest paying location for journeymen/linemen electrical workers in the country with an hourly rate range between $24 and $42.40. The new contract would appear to keep St. Charles toward the high end of that scale.

Kathy Livernois, the city's Human Resources director, said other municipalities in the area are giving larger raises.

"They would have liked to have seen more than 3 percent because other communities are giving raises more than 3 percent," Livernois said. "We think it's a very good outcome on both parts. It involved working together to come up with a solution that benefits both sides."

The new contract follows a citywide pay freeze for all municipal employees for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Raises came back for the current 2010-11 fiscal year.

City staff said the raises fall within budget projections for the near future.

The city has recently explored several options to cut costs and boost revenue, including employee buyouts, several new fees and changes to the city's utility rates.

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