Will County employee strike ends with tentative contract agreement
Representatives for Will County and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1028 reached a tentative agreement early Wednesday morning on all outstanding issues in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, according to an email from a union spokesperson.
AFSCME-represented employees will return to work on Thursday, the union spokesperson said in the email.
Members of AFSCME went on strike Nov. 18. Employees in the union work in the county court system, health department, highway department, Sunny Hill Nursing Home, county jail and in the offices of the sheriff, coroner, recorder, assessor, clerk, chief judge, circuit clerk, executive and state's attorney.
Contract negotiations have been ongoing for 15 months. Major dividing points have involved wage increases and healthcare costs.
County officials insisted they had offered as much as the county could afford in their last contract proposal. The union called the pay increase paltry and said the healthcare proposal doubled the cost for employees.
As recently as last week, the two sides expressed frustration about the stalled negotiations, with each accusing the other of not being prepared to make a counter proposal.
Will County officials said they would refrain from comment until the union has voted on the contract.