When we negotiate our contract, we try to identify real problems and offer solutions. Sometimes these are economic problems in search of a solution like maintaining affordable healthcare, rewarding longevity, and equal pay for equal work (e.g., CRWs).
Sometimes these are workplace problems like safety or scheduling to make our jobs better. We even try to hear legitimate concerns raised by management and try to work with them to address the problem.
Last week, we focused on two of these issues. In both cases, the Sheriff’s Office reacted angrily and was unable to find a way to actually solve the problems, but instead got defensive as if they were personally under attack:
Sexual Harassment and Violations: It is no secret that SEIU Local 73 members at the jail (also, Cermak and JTDC) are subject to abusive sexual behavior from some detainees. Our Union’s job is to protect our members, especially women workers. So we proposed:
- Civilian and healthcare workers should have the right to directly report incidents of sexual harassment or abuse without having to go through a sworn officer
- Civilian and healthcare workers need a ‘panic button system’ for instances of sexual harassment or abuse
- Civilian and healthcare workers need regular training on how to file such reports and handle instances of harassment and abuse when they occur
Flextime: Initially management proposed to eliminate all flextime. Then they were open to the idea of modifying the current contract language. We proposed the following ideas to make sure workers can balance home and work lives while meeting the operational needs of the job:
- Limiting flextime to one hour from the regular shift start and end times
- Limiting flextime for 60-90 days
- Limiting the number of employees in a department on flextime to 25% of the total SEIU represented workers
- Requiring that employees provide the reasons and documentation for flextime requests
- Limiting management’s ability to deny requests that are operationally practicable and reasonable
We don’t return to the table with management until May 3 and then, again, on June 3. We hope management has a chance to breathe and reflect on actually solving problems rather than getting their back up and pretend our problems don’t exist.
But we won’t just wait for management to come to their senses on their own. We have to begin to take action to teach them to respect us and that our lives and jobs matter.
Here is the schedule for upcoming negotiations:
- April 12 – CCH
- April 21 – Offices Under the President (OUP)
- April 26 – Clerk’s Office
- April 28 – CCH
- May 3 – Sheriff’s Office
- May 10 – CCH
- May 11 – OUP
- May 12 – CCH
- May 17 – CCH
- May 18 – OUP
- May 24 – CCH
- May 25 – OUP
- May 26 – CCH
- June 3 – Sheriff’s Office
You can view the latest information on Cook County Bargaining on our website.
Be sure to show your union pride every Wednesday by wearing your Local 73 swag or wearing purple! Organizers will distribute stickers at worksites for you to wear.