By Anna Lothson
Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 73, a public service union, voted Friday to authorize a strike for a number of village employees if compromises are not met.
The group, voting at the village's public works building, approved the strike authorization vote with an 85 percent approval, according to Tim McDonald, group vice president.
Oak Park's Interim Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said the village and SEIU are currently in federal mediation over the contract.
"We will continue to work through the issues that the group has brought forward to us," she said. Another meeting is scheduled in July 2.
Adam Rosen, communications director for the union group, said the strike authorization would be presented to village staff. The next meeting is scheduled for July 2.
"We hope village management has seen the strike authorization vote and will come to the bargaining table with something that will be respectable to accept," he said Monday.
The strike authorization gives the union's leadership leverage in negotiations by allowing them to begin a strike.
The collective bargaining effort between Oak Park and the union involves a number of employees across multiple departments. SEIU Local 73 represents some 45 village employees, including staffers from parking enforcement, forestry, police records, the village clerk's department, code administration, water, building departments, finance and adjudication.
According to the union, Oak Park's village management wants no retroactivity on any wage increases, merit pay increases tied to no grievances being filed, decreased holiday and Sunday pay from double time to time-and-a-half for hours worked, and loss of overtime pay if sick, holiday or vacation days are used in the same week as the overtime was earned.
Instead, management is offering a 1 percent wage increase plus a 1 percent merit increase and is offering one additional sick day, according to the union.
The strike authorization vote doesn't mean a strike will happen.
It gives the union's bargaining committee the ability to deliver a five-day strike notice to village management, which would give the group the ability to strike after the five days.