ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – The 116 probation officers and youth counselors, who monitor adult and juvenile criminal offenders in Kane County’s 16th Judicial Circuit, voted to authorize a strike in rejecting the court’s final offer for a new bargaining agreement, Teamsters Local 330 announced in an April 13 news release.
If the union does not receive an acceptable revised offer, the union will prepare for a walkout after providing the court with a five-day notice of intent to strike as required by law, the release stated.
Lisa Aust, executive director of Kane County Court Services, did not return a voicemail message seeking comment.
“The court’s offer would eliminate the existing wage structure, which already required the officers and counselors to work 15 years before reaching top salary, and freeze these workers at their current salary steps with smaller annual percentage increases over three years,” Local 330 President Dominic Romanazzi stated in the release.
“These are highly trained, college-educated professionals responsible for keeping track of thousands of offenders, including some on probation for felonies including sex offenses and domestic violence,” Romanazzi stated in the release.
“Our members’ only desire was to keep the wage structure they deserve and fought hard to secure in the last contract, which eventually provides fairness in line with their duties and responsibilities, which are of the utmost importance to the public’s safety,” Romanazzi stated in the release. “The court’s offer does not acknowledge either the reasonableness of our members’ demands or the importance to the public of ensuring that these professionals are appropriately compensated for their critical work.”
The union offered to submit the contract dispute to an arbitrator in order to avoid a possible strike, but the court refused, the release stated.
The union also alleged that the court violated the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act by failing to maintain the existing wage progression after the current contract expired in 2017, the release stated.
The union members voted to authorize a strike in part to protest the alleged unfair labor practice, in addition to seeking to maintain the wage progression over the life of a new contract, the release stated.