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Bargaining Update – December 8

Wednesday, Dec. 6, was our latest contract negotiation session with management.

Our bargaining team presented new responses to proposals including: workplace health and safety, making the promotion process more fair and accountable, remote work for administrative employees, wage premiums for various additional duties, not forcing employees to cross picket lines at schools on strike, and pay for certifications. We are waiting for management to respond to the majority of our other proposals.

While our bargaining team has come prepared with responses every bargaining session, management did not show up with any new responses in this meeting. Our committee was frustrated with the management’s lack of preparedness. The District has committed to bringing more responses in the next session on Dec. 20, but we need to amp up the pressure so management takes this process more seriously.

We must stick together, TAKE ACTION NOW:

1.) Join our Contract Action Team Meeting:

Thursday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 pm at SEIU Local 73 (300 S Ashland, 4th floor)

This is an important meeting for all Contract Action Team members, Bargaining Team members, and any member who wants to help plan upcoming actions to put pressure on management to agree to a fair contract. Refreshments will be provided. RSVP here.

2.) Sign up to Observe an Upcoming Bargaining Session on Dec. 20 from 10 AM-12 PM or one of our 2024 sessions.

3.) General Member Meeting:

Thurs., Jan. 11 at 6:30 pm on Zoom

We will share bargaining updates and upcoming action plans.

You MUST register in advance to receive the Zoom link.

Bargaining Update – November 29

Yesterday, Nov. 28, was our most recent bargaining session with management. We received new responses from management on some of our proposals, including: a safe and healthy workplace, remote work for administrative members, wage adjustments and premiums, and our proposal that members not be required to cross picket lines at work. In addition:

We reached one new tentative agreement on transfers. This agreement will accomplish a few main things:

  • Curbing the abuse of “temporary” transfers: limiting the time someone can be temporarily relocated.
  • Expanding involuntary transfer protections to include landscape in the protections that other departments have.
  • Establishing a more fair assignment and transfer process for aquatics. 

We received a new counter-proposal from management on across-the-board wage increases. We are seeing the impact of members’ actions, such as testifying at the Park District Budget Hearing, as management has increased their proposal and started offering retro pay for the first time since we started negotiations. However, their proposal still only offers between 2.5-3% per year for most employees. 

Also, management continued to REJECT our proposals to create a more fair and transparent promotion system. 

Although some progress is being made, we must continue pushing management to win a fair contract!!! 


Contract Action Team Meeting:
Thursday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 pm at SEIU Local 73 (300 S Ashland, 4th floor)
Important meeting for all Contract Action Team members and any member who wants to help plan upcoming actions to put pressure on management to agree to a fair contract. 
RSVP here.

Sign up to Observe an Upcoming Bargaining Session on Dec. 6, Dec. 20 or beyond.

General Member Meeting:
Thurs., Jan. 11 at 6:30 pm on Zoom 
We will share bargaining updates and upcoming action plans. 
You MUST register in advance to receive the zoom link.

P.S.: Thanks to all who joined us at the Park District Union Social Event last night at Output Lounge. It’s important for our union family to have spaces to connect with each other outside of work. If you missed it, you can also join us for SEIU 73’s upcoming Holiday Party on Dec. 9, 6-11 pm, info here

Bargaining Update – November 20

We met for a short contract negotiations session with management on Friday, Nov. 17. We presented some new proposals regarding healthcare costs. But the focus of this particular meeting was the urgent need for more safety protections for our members in the field. 

We presented dozens of testimonials from members in many titles and departments, of detailed stories about the lack of protection you often have when you’re working in your park. We have told the District over and over again that members should not be working alone in their facility, especially early in the morning or late into the night. We have told them again and again about the need for more security staff and proposed to create a new civilian security workforce so that we can get more security officers into these jobs and into our parks. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted your story. It is necessary for management to be confronted with the reality of what you experience every day in the field. The pressure we’re putting on management is working– so far they have announced the creation of 20 new Monthly Security positions, compared to only having Hourly Security positions available in the past. But we will need to keep the pressure on. 

Our next Bargaining Session is Tuesday, Nov. 28, 10 am – 12 pm at the Park District HQ (4830 S Western Ave). Sign up here if you plan to come observe (must be off the clock).

Also, come join your fellow Park District union members at an upcoming social event:

Park District Union Hangout
Get together with your fellow union members for a casual after-work meet up. Brief bargaining updates will be provided.

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 5 pm – 8 pm
Output Lounge 
1758 W Grand Ave
Appetizers provided by SEIU. 
The bar is offering the following specials: $5 well drinks, $5 wine. 

Budget Hearing Update – November 15

Earlier today at the Park District’s Public Budget Hearing, members and allies from the community turned out in force to tell the Park District: FAIR CONTRACT NOW!

Four members from several departments spoke at the Hearing, directly addressing Superintendent Rosa Escareño and the entire Board of Commissioners on the importance of fair pay increases for all workers and a $20 minimum wage. The room was so full of SEIU Local 73 members that it was standing room only, with even more people waiting outside.

“Our parks cannot be accessible and supported if the workers who run them are struggling to make ends meet. The cost of living has dramatically increased over the past few years, and we cannot survive with a 40 cent raise increase. We, the Park District Employees, want to see our needs addressed in this budget: we need competitive pay increases across all titles. We are essential employees and the Park District must respect us, protect us, and pay us,” said Parris Purdis, Labor Foreman at Pulaski Park.

“The shortage affects us year-round since we don’t have enough staff to provide three levels of swimming classes. We’ve had to deal with complaints from parents about the quality of our classes because there aren’t enough instructors for the size of the class,” said Coral Rubio, Lifeguard at Kosciuszko Park.

We also had community members there in support. Sylvia Jones, Founder and CEO of Chicago Coalition for Park Advocates and Advisory Councils, presented a petition signed by over 1,200 community members to the Board of Commissioners. “Our community relies on our park system for many reasons: recreation, fitness, senior programs, childcare, and violence prevention. And yet, even as we see staffing shortages affecting these positions, Park District management has proposed just pennies in pay increases for these workers, despite a budget surplus. We urge you to make the livelihood of these workers a priority in your budget for 2024 and beyond,” said Jones.

Read more about the action on our website.

Management heard us loud and clear today. Let’s keep the momentum going by continuing to take action:

1.) Submit a testimonial about your experience with safety in the parks. Management has been refusing to discuss important proposals we have made to improve security measures for members. No story is too big or too small, we want to show the Park District that safety is a widespread issue. Testimonials will be read this Friday in bargaining. Submit your story here:

2.) Sign up to observe bargaining this Friday, Nov 17, 10am-12pm in person at the SEIU office OR VIA ZOOM. We will have a special zoom option for this meeting. Must be off the clock to observe. Sign up here to get the zoom link:

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Paula Haley (

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Frank Klein, Division Director (

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Last Updated 12/08/23

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