Contract talks scheduled Monday between Will County and striking government workers
Staff report November 22, 2013 7:28PM
Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1028 picket Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, in front of the Will County county owned Sunny Hill Nursing Home on day three of the union's strike. | Cindy Wojdyla Cain
Updated: December 25, 2013 6:39AM
Will County negotiators are heading back to the table for further contract talks with striking employees on Monday, an official said.
Nick Palmer, chief of staff for Will County executive Larry Walsh, said the two sides are scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Monday at the Holiday Inn in Joliet.
Will County’s union government employees went out on strike last Monday, after 15 months of bargaining failed to produce a contract for about 1,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1028.
The two top issues are cost-of-living raises and health insurance costs. The county is offering 4.5 percent COLA raises phased in over three years on top of 2.5 percent “step” increases employees get as they move up the pay scale each year.
In exchange for the raises, the county wants the way employees pay for health insurance to change. Instead of paying a flat 1 percent to 2 percent of their salary, which is the current system, workers would pay up to 10 percent of premium costs, doubling insurance payments for many.
The union said the lack of cost-of-living raises four years ago combined with the insurance payment jump would almost wipe out the raises being offered now for some workers.
County officials say there is no more money in the budget to offer workers more, and bigger raises could trigger layoffs.