GLEN ELLYN – The Glen Ellyn School District 41 Board of Education and the district's support staff union continue to negotiate on a new contract for the district's support staff.
School Board President Stephanie Clark read a statement about the negotiations following a closed session at the board's Nov. 27 meeting. The union is part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and represents the district's administrative assistants, clerks, secretaries, instructional and special education aides, custodial/maintenance employees, and lunchroom employees.
The current contract expired on June 30. Three meetings have been held with a federal mediator, and another session is scheduled for Dec. 5, Clark said in the statement.
"The board is concerned with the length of time negotiations have taken and is striving for a prompt and reasonable settlement through the mediation process," Clark said in the statement.
According to Clark, many economic and working condition items remain unresolved. For example, Clark said, the union has rejected a consumer price index approach to salary increases, similar to what is in the teachers’ collective bargaining agreement between the board and the teachers’ union.
"This is an improvement over the current formula in the AFSCME contract and provides for an increase of 2.48 percent for the 2017-18 school year, if agreement on retroactivity is reached," Clark said. "The formula would be increased in the later years of the contract. The union has proposed increases ranging from to 4 to 4.5 percent."
The union has also rejected market adjustments to salaries, Clark said, included increases for certain special education and custodial/maintenance positions to enhance attraction and retention of employees, and caps on top salary rates for market consistency and long-term cost control.
The board and the union also disagree over several other issues, including reductions in the employee contribution rates for participation in the HMO health insurance plans and modest increases in the PPO health insurance plan; limiting qualifications for overtime pay to actual hours worked, except when sick leave is involved; and a retirement incentive for long-term employees.
"Our support staff are a valuable and critically important part of our efforts to deliver top tier educational services and facilities to our students," Clark said. "We are striving for an agreement which fairly recognizes their value and importance, as well as our obligation to the entire school community to maintain the fiscal and operational integrity of the district."
Union representative Carla Williams said she was "disappointed" that the board chose to release a statement about the negotiations.
"We don't bargain in public," Williams said. "We bargain at the bargaining table. We are interested in trying to reach a fair agreement with the district."
Williams said the majority of the District 41 support staff in the union earn between $14,000 and $15,000 annually.