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City’s offer yanks retroactive pay hikes, union says

AFSCME members stage noisy noon-hour demonstratiTuesday outside city office building 30 N. LaSalle. | Fran Spielman~Sun-Times

AFSCME members stage a noisy noon-hour demonstration Tuesday outside a city office building at 30 N. LaSalle. | Fran Spielman~Sun-Times

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Updated: October 26, 2013 6:23AM

Rank-and-file Chicago Police officers are not the only ones at risk of losing their retroactive pay raise. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to deny nearly two years’ worth of back pay to 3,000 civilian city employees, their union charged Tuesday.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 disclosed that portion of the city’s offer in an attempt to turn up the heat on Emanuel to negotiate a fair replacement for a contract that expired more than a year ago and last gave AFSMCE members a pay raise on Jan. 1, 2012.

“We need wage increases that keep pace with the rising cost of city living for our members, but what the administration has offered doesn’t meet that standard and doesn’t provide any retroactive increase for the nearly two years that our members have been without a raise,” said AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall, shortly before his members demonstrated outside two downtown work sites.

The union is also demanding “rules of the road” that would guarantee that, whenever city services are privatized, those jobs will “remain with city residents at comparable wages and benefits.”

A similar ordinance championed by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) has been languishing in the City Council’s Rules Committee, the traditional burial ground for legislation the mayor opposes.

“We have seen half of the city’s primary care clinics given away to private operators for $1. Many of the mental health clinics were closed and patients referred to private operators. Hundreds of doctors, nurses, therapists and other health care workers in those clinics lost their jobs,” Lindall said.

“They were replaced by private employees with lower wages and few or no benefits. The same thing happened with the Water Department billing center. A Japanese corporation was given a contract and workers previously employed by the city lost their jobs. We need safeguards for when privatization is considered.”

Dozens of AFSCME employees pressed their case for a new contract — with a retroactive pay raise and privatization guarantees — during a noisy noontime demonstration outside a city office at 30 N. Lasalle.


Twitter: @fspielman

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