The Park District made their first proposal on wages and benefits on Friday. While they heard part of what we said, they ignored the rest of our interests, and tried to use the age old management strategy of divide and conquer.
Their proposal is a 3-year proposal masquerading as a 5-year contract. This is because in the 4th and 5th year, the wage increases are not guaranteed and could be put in the pension rather than our paychecks (this is their backdoor way of trying to force workers to pay for the pension shortfall). They, also, proposed changing the formula for health benefits so workers will pay more for healthcare – the result will be a smaller paycheck. We are rejecting these proposals.
The first 3 years offer long overdue larger raises for some hourly workers, but these raises are coupled with poison pills aimed at full-time monthly workers and other hourly workers. As a result, monthly workers and a large number of hourly workers are getting almost no raise for 3 years.
In fact, the Park District proposals don’t even solve the problems for hourly workers, whether they are getting raises or not, because they offer no path to health benefits, no paid vacation, and no increase in paid holidays or other paid benefit days.
Here are the worst poison pills aimed at monthly workers:
The Park District management has a priorities problem, not a money problem. They didn’t care about the budget or pension when they gave themselves up to a 17.5% pay raise this year alone. They didn’t think twice before deciding to spend millions on a new corporate headquarters as well as subsidizing the Chicago Police up to $4 million per year for doing what they have to do anyway.
Their priorities don’t include us or our families. They don’t respect or value the work that Park workers do. They don’t understand that without Park District workers, the Chicago Parks would be vacant lots, not valued assets for our community.
We know we will only win if we stand together – hourly and monthly, supervisors, instructors, lifeguards, rec leaders, attendants, laborers, security, and office workers. We will do whatever it takes to make sure that the City of Chicago understands that Chicago Parks work for our community because of the work we do.
It Is Time To Stand Up and Fight Back!