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Cop Contract Freezes Pay, Health Premiums

Officers and supervisors won't see a raise until 2015, but they'll also not pay more for health insurance until 2021.

officers will not see a pay raise for two years, but they also won't have an increase in their health care premiums until 2021 under a new three-year contract approved Monday by the Joliet City Council.

The 250 officers and supervisors who make up the Fraternal Order of Police's two local unions agreed to the two-year pay freeze in a conract that begins in December 2012 and runs through the end of 2015. In the third year of the pact, officers/supervisors will see a 2 percent raise.

City Manager Tom Thanas, who helped negotiate the deal, acknowledged that the insurance premium was a concession to the union and a calculated risk on the city's part.

In the three years that employees have had to pay insurance premiums -- $50 every two weeks for one person -- the city's been able to contain costs in its self-insured program to a 3 percent increase, Thanas said. A variety of programs, including a $2,600 incentive paid to anyone who opts out of Joliet's insurance plan in favor of a spouse's, have yielded results, he said.

From the city council's perspective, two years of not having to give pay raises to the employees who are among the city's highest paid -- they account for about 30 percent to 35 percent of 's payroll -- offers some budget breathing room as the city continues to deal with a sluggish economy and declining casino income.

"I want to credit these two unions for stepping up and making these concessions they didn't need to make," District 2 Councilman Bob O'Dekirk said.

At-large Councilman Don Fisher agreed. "These are very good numbers for Joliet. I don't think there's a bargaining unit anywhere around that would go for zero, zero (for two years)."

The union also agreed to extend the freeze on a tuition reimbursement benefit, a move that saves somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000 a year, Thanas said.

The city is in the process of negotiating new contracts with its four remaining unions, and Thanas said he is hopeful they'll be able to reach similar agreements with them. Three of those four contracts end this year; the firefighters' contract ended in December.

Mike Schauer June 07, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Its unfortunate that anybody has to go through this. But this is the world we live in today. Police do a terrific job,and they earn their pay as well as beneifts. Being in a private Union,we to have had to make concessions in our healthcare,paying a higher premium,and a little more out of pocket expense. The Police Unions andtheir leaders should be commened for the diligents in addressing the problem. And both city and unions,should be commended for doing the best job they could do, for what is a fair and just conclusion for the taxpayers
Jtown Johnny June 08, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Good move. Hopefully the city can stand its ground with the other unions. After seeing what all these city employees make annually, I can't sympathize with their complaints about pay freezes.
Chicago Woodbutcher June 09, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Why is it a problem if a trained city official who belongs to a Union makes to much money? Anyone who protects and serves the public should make a decent living! As far as the Union comment goes, thats just a crazy statement. Unions protect their members and gaurantee a wage and benafits. Trust me without that we would all be working for penny's. Why let big business and goverment make all the money. Why are you not complaining about the goverment and the wastefull spending they constantly make, why not complain about gas prices! 3.80 a gallon and we are all ok with this? Every year all the oil compaies make billions of dollars and it is never going to change! Thats crazy! Bottom line is don't complain about something, try and better yourself, join a Union go for professional training if need be and send your complaints to the peaople who matter not the ones that are there for you daily

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