Educational and instructional aides, secretaries, library clerks, technology specialists and other support staff members at the four Glenbard District 87 high schools will have a new three-year contract starting this summer that includes raises of about 3 percent each year.
The new agreement, approved unanimously by the school board this week, also allows some who announce plans to retire within the next three years to get additional 5.5 percent salary boosts each year that would allow them to pad their retirements.
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Under the current five-year agreement set to expire June 30, soon-to-be retirees could receive an additional 20 percent salary increase during their final year on the job. A new state law limits that payout to 6 percent, though a grandfather clause in the law allows the new rules to take effect after the contract with Glenbard support staff expires.
In the new agreement with the 231-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1970, those who have worked 10 consecutive full-time years in District 87 and are eligible for retirement under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund can receive 5.5 percent wage increases in addition to their regular raises in each of their last years of employment -- not to exceed three years.
An irrevocable notice of retirement must be submitted to the district between April 1 and June 1 of the year or years prior to retirement.
In order to get the maximum allowable salary bonus, an employee would have to declare retirement three years in advance.
"By law we could no longer do 20 percent," said Deb Redmond, the local union president who is the bookstore manager at Glenbard West. "The law now limits you to 6 percent. We settled for 5.5 percent (in each year) for a three-year period. That way if you know that far in advance you want to retire, it can work out to your advantage that way. But it wasn't really a district-union problem. It was really in response to state law."
The union's membership voted 87-41 on June 3 to ratify the agreement.
Rod Molek, the district's assistant superintendent for human resources and student services, said the district will be able to afford the retirement payouts because they have been projected as part of the district's five-year financial forecast.
He said there are about 50 members of the district's support staff that would likely retire in the next three years.
In addition, the new contract will allow retirees who've worked in the district for 10 years to continue to participate in the district's insurance programs for three years after retirement -- a change from five years under the previous agreement. The new contract allows retirees collecting Medicare to also receive the district's insurance as a supplement for three years, Redmond said.
But an employee who exceeds a 6 percent increase in IMRF reportable wages in any of the three years before retirement will have to forfeit one year of retiree insurance, officials said.
The pool of salary increases for all union members will be 3.16 percent in the first year of the contract, 3 percent in the second year and 3 percent in the third year.
Also under the new contract, employees who are coaches or activity sponsors will be paid time and a half their regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work. Those employees were eligible for overtime previously, but Molek said it was a burdensome process to figure out the exact amount for each employee after trying to match up what was in the full-time faculty collective bargaining agreement.
The agreement with support staff comes exactly a year after the school board approved a five-year contract with the 580-member teachers union.
The third union representing Glenbard employees, Service Employees International Union Local 73, covers the four building engineers in the district. Their four-year agreement runs through June 2015.
The new agreement for support staff is effective from July 1 through June 30, 2016.