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Courthouse officers to vote on contract

Published: Friday, March 8, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Kane County’s courthouse security officers and county officials could be nearing a deal to avert a strike in the long-running fight over a new labor deal.

Today, the security officers will gather to vote on a contract proposal from the county government that a lawyer representing the officers’ union said marked an improvement from earlier offers.

“It’s not going to get us where we should be,” said attorney Tim O’Neil, representing the Policeman’s Benevolent Labor Committee union. “But it’s a start.”

O’Neil said the officers had voted on that same proposal earlier this week, but the vote ended in a tie. He said some officers could not attend that meeting and cast their votes, so the union has scheduled a new vote with all members.

“So we’re going to do it over again and see what happens,” O’Neil said.

Should the union reject this proposal, O’Neil said a strike would be likely.

The officers and the county government have been locked in contentious talks for years. The officers have worked without a contract since 2008.

The union has taken the matter to labor officials and to court.

The union has contended its members should be paid more because they earn thousands of dollars less than any other county courthouse security officers in the Chicago area. Kane’s courthouse security officers earn annual wages ranging from $25,000 to $34,000.

O’Neil declined to discuss the specifics of the county’s latest offer, but said it would increase the officers’ base pay – a concession previous offers did not grant.

Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez has maintained for weeks that the county and the union “weren’t that far apart,” and believed a deal could be completed without a strike.

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