Members of AFSCME Local 1028, representing some 1,200 Will County employees, are on strike after management again refused to offer fair wages or back off a plan to double employee health care costs. In a last-ditch round of negotiations on Nov. 13 and 14, representatives of the Will County board did not budge from their demand that employees accept a paltry wage increase after four years with no cost-of-living raise. Combined with the county’s demands on health care costs, management’s proposal amounts to a pay cut for many employees. County employees voted to authorize a strike more than a month ago, but made every effort to seek a compromise, even delaying a planned work stoppage to return to negotiations at the request of a federal mediator.
To help the county through tough times, employees represented by AFSCME agreed to forego a cost-of-living pay increase for the past four years. Today 40 percent of union members earn less than $30,000 annually. Current contract talks have dragged on for 15 months with little sign of compromise by county management and little involvement by county executive Larry Walsh.
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