April will be a good month for the next couple years for Teamsters union members employed by the Kane County Division of Transportation who have won a series of raises from the county board.
Union negotiations settled on terms providing for a 2-percent raise dating back to April 1, 2012. Under the agreement, the employees will get another 2-percent raise on April 1, 2013, and a final 2-percent raise on April 1, 2014.
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The agreement also provides for county insurance contribution increases of 5 percent as of Feb. 1, 2013, and a 6.3-percent contribution increase on Jan. 1, 2014. Starting Jan. 1, 2015, either the union or the county can reopen negotiations on the insurance aspect of the contract.
The changes affect a group of 27 employees known as "snowbirds." The employees are seasonal maintenance staff who handle the county's snow plowing responsibility.
Responding to a question from a taxpayer about how the county can give out raises during the current economy, Transportation Committee Chairwoman Cathy Hurlbut on Tuesday said taxpayers should view the raises as 2 percent over the three years, rather than a 6-percent raise.
"It's probably just going to reflect the cost-of-living increases," Hurlbut said. "We can't afford to have these guys go on strike."
County board members approved the raises Tuesday without a "no" vote. The raises are comparable to other recent pay increases in the county that came through either union negotiations or arbitration. Sheriff's department employees and correctional officers were awarded a 2-percent raise in a binding arbitration decision last year.