August 10, 2012
Contract Includes First-Ever Short-Term Disability Benefits, Wellness Programs, and 2% Employee Pay Increase for District's Engineers, Fourth Largest Union in CPS
Chicago – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that a new four-year agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 143 (IUOE) has been ratified by the IUOE membership. IUOE is the fourth largest union in CPS, representing approximately 700 engineers who operate and maintain school buildings across the District. IUOE members preserve building safety by operating and maintaining boilers, heating ventilation and air conditioning equipment, fire safety and electrical systems, plumbing and other infrastructure.
In recent months, CPS has reached contract agreements with the second- and third-largest unions in the District—SEIU Local 73, representing 5,500 custodians, child welfare attendants (CWA), watchmen, special education classroom assistants, children and family benefit liaisons, school bus aides, parent workers, security officers, security aides and PT security officers, and UNITE HERE Local 1, which represents 3,200 lunchroom workers.
"The agreement signifies what can be done when both sides work together and maintain open lines of communication," said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. "Although CPS and IUOE Local 143 started very far apart, we worked together in good faith to reach a fair agreement and ultimately put the interest of our students first. I would like to thank all members of IUOE Local 143 for working with us to assure parents, communities and students that they will be ready for the start of the school year."
Negotiations between CPS and IUOE took place over a three month period beginning in April. The agreement was ratified by members on Aug. 2. Contract highlights include:
- Short-Term Disability and Maternity Leave: IUOE members will move away from an antiquated sick day policy that ultimately penalizes employees who become sick or pregnant. CPS will provide members with access to a fair benefits system by offering Short-Term Disability, which includes, for the first time ever, maternity leave coverage.
- Wellness Plan for Members: IUOE will partner with CPS on a wellness plan to help motivate members to focus on their health and adopt better and healthier life choices. This is the same plan recently adopted by CPS Central Office employees, UNITE HERE Local 1 and SEIU Local 73.
- Employee Pay Increase: All employees will receive a two percent pay increase in each of the four contract years.
- Opportunities for Expansion: IUOE will now have the opportunity to present proposals to operate and maintain new CPS buildings, expanding job opportunities and volume of the union's work across the District.
- New, Efficient Staffing Model: The contract will create a more efficient staffing model by utilizing a new computer-based scheduling system that will more efficiently address ongoing and specific maintenance needs for schools.
- Training Fund: CPS will continue contributing to the IUOE Local 143 Continuing Education and Training Fund by giving eight cents for each regular hour of work performed by bargaining unit members (exclusive of overtime).
This agreement with IUOE represents the third major agreement CPS has reached with employees. CPS and UNITE HERE Local 1 announced an agreement on May 3 that included first time-ever short term disability and maternity leave for members, as well as a five-year moratorium on the conversion of cooking kitchens to warming kitchens. CPS and SEIU Local 73 announced an agreement on June 14 that also included short term disability leave, as well as professional development opportunities for members to advance their careers.
To learn more about this agreement and the collective bargaining process the public can visit the new CPS collective bargaining website: www.cps.edu/collectivebargaining.
The Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 402,000 students in more than 675 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school system.