On May 8th Park District workers from across the city, including Playground Supervisor Venus Roman-Valino and Johanna Leiva, attended the Board of Commissioners meeting to make sure that our work and our lives are not forgotten or treated as invisible by the powers that be. This same week we negotiated with the Park District management all day on May 9th. As Johanna Leiva, a 17-year hourly employee at Portage Park Pool said:
“The lack of pay for the work we do is unfair. I have 2 kids and I have always worked two jobs just to make ends meet because what I make with the parks is nowhere near enough to provide for myself and family. I do the job of a monthly worker and clearly get paid about $20k less. I love what I do and I also know that I and my coworkers are not receiving the pay and benefits that we deserve. I’ve been trusted to be in a leadership position for almost 14 years yet I have gone to interviews for promotions again and again but have been passed over for unspecified reasons.”
Our SEIU Local 73 Negotiating Committee took the energy of the day before and the spirit of Johanna’s comments into negotiations. We continued to make the argument (and we made some progress) that it is important that workers can advance to jobs and locations that improve their lives and also serve the community. This means moving from hourly to monthly where possible, and to be promoted or transferred before outside applicants are hired. We don’t want to be trapped in jobs and we don’t want to be moved around as if we are pieces of furniture.
We also reached an agreement in principle with the Park District Management that the 75% R-121 rule applied to instructors must include preparation and set-up and breakdown. Management is going to bring a written clarification to the next negotiations.
We have one negotiating session left as we continue to narrow the differences on transfers and promotions and begin to talk about our economic proposals for improved pay and benefits. So please drop in and participate – your voice and presence matter.
Negotiations are at the Local 73 Office:
Thursday May 23rd from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thank you to your brave coworkers Johanna and Venus for speaking out!