CHICAGO — Mayor Emanuel announced today that the City of Chicago has reached an agreement with Laborers Local 1001 to create a new position type, which is projected to save more than $30 million in taxpayer savings over the next six years.
The new position, which utilizes a work rule change, will be a hybrid position that is trained for work in all manner of jobs under the City’s Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), including tree trimming, graffiti removal, sanitation removal, and hand labor work. DSS will be able to move employees freely through the work types, based on workload.
“This is a perfect example of the City and labor working together to craft an innovative solution that protects jobs, saves taxpayer money, and allows us to provide services more efficiently,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These employees will be ready for success with this new position and training, and we are pleased to have crafted a deal that is a win for all involved.”
The hourly rate for the new employees will be $20, which is less than two-thirds of the current entry rate of $33 per hour. Additionally, going forward these employees will receive rate increases based on hours worked, not pre-negotiated rate increases. A three-tiered rate system will be put in place, with premium pay for certain assignments, and the employees will be paid in accordance with the assignments on which they are actually working.
On an annual basis, the City hires about 50 employees for DSS, based on retirement and attrition. Over six years, the employees hired in the first year would save the city nearly $8 million. If the City continues to hire 50 new employees annually, the cumulative savings will be $30.4 million by 2017.
The deal was negotiated by representatives of Laborers Local 1001 and the City. DSS had significant input on the creation and makeup of the position, in order to ensure the position accurately meets the current daily needs the department faces.
In addition to the aforementioned features regarding rate of pay, the new positions will: be probationary for four years instead of the current six months; have a veterans’ preference for hiring; and feature a training program that will help the new employees learn the skills to service all of these positions. Additionally, the new agreement allows a Fitness for Duty exam, if a supervisor observes an inability to perform job duties.
“This agreement is proof positive of the results that can be achieved through the cooperation and partnership between Laborers’ Local 1001 and the City of Chicago,” said Lou Phillips, Business Manager for Laborers Local 1001. “This is a win-win, not only for our members but for every resident of the City of Chicago. This historic agreement will help the City of Chicago ensure the quality and the level of City services at a substantial cost savings to the taxpayers of this great City of ours.”
The agreement was signed on April 30, 2012 and is effective immediately.