May 7, 2012


'It's a new day': A good deal for Chicago labor and taxpayers (Chicago Tribune, 5/07/12)

Laborers' Local 1001, which represents about 2,000 Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation workers, has just negotiated a groundbreaking agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration.

The union negotiated the deal because it wants its members to be employed.

Under the changes, new hires in Streets and Sanitation will be paid $20 an hour, less than the current start rate of $33 an hour. The new hires will be eligible for pay raises based on the number of hours they work, eventually reaching $38 an hour.

The city will gain flexibility in how it can deploy its workers, because the new workers will be trained for several jobs, such as garbage pickup, graffiti removal, tree trimming and rodent control. The probation period for new hires will be four years, rather than the current six months. It will be easier for the city to remove poorly performing employees and hire new ones who can do the job.

The city estimates these changes will save taxpayers $30 million over six years.

The changes were negotiated between City Hall and Laborers' 1001 without a protracted contract negotiation, without the threat of a strike. The union's contract doesn't expire until 2017.

This looks like one of the first fruits of Emanuel's efforts to instill a sense of competition in city government. 

Posted by at May 7, 2012 5:59 AM

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