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updated: 2/6/2013 3:53 PM

No Kane County court security strike; sides will meet again

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Kane County officials and court security officers, who have been working without a contract for more than four years, are exchanging proposals and will meet again on Feb. 19.

The court security officers are on the job today although they presented the county last week with a five-day notice to strike.

Michele Niermann, a Kane County Assistant State's Attorney who represents the sheriff's office during negotiations, said county officials and the union met late Tuesday.

"We've been having productive discussions," she said. "We've been exchanging offers. It's a back and forth process. Hopefully, the parties can get a deal done."

The union presented Sheriff Pat Perez on Jan. 31 with a five-day notice to strike. Niermann said she doesn't believe the union will strike until both sides have a chance to meet again.

Tim O'Neil, an attorney representing the union, could not immediately be reached for comment.

O'Neil has said the officers are expected to put their lives on the line providing courthouse and courtroom security for starting salaries at about $25,000. He also has said pay tops out at around $34,000, which is significantly less than surrounding counties.

Union members have been working without a contract since November 2008. An appellate court panel ruled that the officers, who provide security at courthouses in St. Charles, Geneva, Elgin, Aurora and Carpentersville, are not essential employees and thus have the ability to strike.

Municipal employees such as police officers and firefighters are prohibited from striking and are offered interest arbitration as a remedy to labor disputes.

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