Employment contracts can require compromise to get signed

Emergency dispatchers in one Illinois county finally have an employment contract. Negotiations for the new agreement began in 2011, prior to the expiration of the old one in Jan. 2012. As is the case with other county employment contracts in St. Clair County, the County Board had to approve the dispatcher's contract before it could be considered final.

The major points of contention for the dispatchers included credit for on-the-job experience and pay raises. Pay raises included in the contract are retroactive to 2011, and according to the St. Clair County Administrator, the raises are in line with what other county employees receive. A bump in pay for new hires was also included. Even though at least one other county pays its dispatchers more, the raises and increase in entry-level pay were nonetheless agreeable to both sides.

Other concessions given to dispatchers included vacation time and paid holidays. The county received a concession of its own. Employees that leave the dispatch center before the expiration of three full years of employment are to reimburse the county a percentage of the costs expended for training that employee. Reimbursement will be at a rate of 75 percent for those that leave employment in the first year, 50 percent for those leaving within the second year and 25 percent who terminate their employment before the end of the third year.

Employment contracts between Illinois businesses or governmental units and unions often require each side to make compromises. Sometimes, it can take a significant amount of time for both sides to negotiate what both consider to be a fair agreement. When it happens, however, the result is a new contract that everyone can agree upon and live with, allowing day-to-day operations to get back to normal.

Source: bnd.com, After two years, 911 operators get new contract, Daniel Kelley, Jan. 1, 2014

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