New labor deal for Wauconda public works employees
Wauconda's public works employees have a new labor contract that calls for a pay freeze in the first year and modest salary increases during the next four.
The pact with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees applies to 17 full-time public works employees and one person who works in the finance department and handles water billing, Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner said.
Under the deal, which trustees approved this week and is effective May 1, the employees' pay will remain the same in 2015. Afterward, they will receive raises of:
• 1 percent in 2016.
• 1.5 percent in 2017.
• 1.5 percent in 2018.
• 2 percent in 2019.
Financial rewards for longevity on the job are changing, too.
Instead of receiving raises for reaching 10, 15 or 20 years on the job, which has been the way it's done in Wauconda, employees hired after May 1 will get one-time bonuses at those anniversaries, Maxeiner said.
An employee who reaches 10 years of employment will get a $500 bonus. The bonuses increase to $1,000 at 15 years and to $1,500 at 20 years.
The contract also guarantees no layoffs or employee reductions for two years, he said.
Additionally, employees will pick up a greater percentage of their health insurance premium costs.
"The union was concerned about protecting jobs," Maxeiner said. "The village's intent was to see some movement from the union on benefits. I think both sides were able to accomplish their goals."
A union representative couldn't be reached for comment.
Maxeiner called the negotiations "amicable and pretty informal." Attorneys didn't get involved until after a tentative agreement was reached, he said.
The talks went so well, Maxeiner called them a "template" for future negotiations with the labor unions representing other employees, as well as with those workers not covered by labor groups.
"We'll approach collective bargaining with the remaining groups with an open mind to see what we can jointly achieve for the benefit of the community," he said.