It's final: Oak Park employees to strike Saturday

Around 75 village workers set to walk out Saturday, Monday

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

It's official — Oak Park village employees will strike Saturday and Monday.

Following another meeting held Thursday that ended without compromise between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 and the Village of Oak Park management, around 75 village employees will be walking out on the job Saturday morning and all day Monday.

Adam Rosen, communications director for the union, said a meeting was held at noon Thursday and the village did not agree to any of the final requests from the union regarding changes in overtime pay and merit-based pay increases.

Because the village will be open Saturday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. for the sale of vehicle stickers, parking passes and permit sales, Interim Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said the village will be tapping into other employees to handle the Saturday and Monday workflow to maintain services to residents.

The group the union represents includes all non-management staff at the Oak Park Village Hall, parking enforcement officers, public works and forestry division employees, as well as several other departments.

Email: Twitter: @AnnaLothson

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Posted: July 11th, 2012 8:55 AM

Unions have no place in government. Government employee unions are nothing more than government organized as a special interest to lobby itself to expand itself. The free market can decide the true value of these services. If wages and benefits are indeed too low, competent employees will leave and viable candidates will not apply and the level of service will diminish. Wages will then increase to meet what the market demands. The economics are quite simple.


Posted: July 10th, 2012 9:55 PM

$4 Billion with a "B"??? You. Have.To.Be.Kidding, Right?


Posted: July 10th, 2012 1:44 PM



Posted: July 10th, 2012 1:03 PM

Observer - Maybe it's not about how it's spent but about how it's raised. In the case of public unions- mandated $$ goes to mandated causes - only Dems - whether union members agree or not. Monies raised by Rep. are willfully donated and spent according. Again, free will vs mandates.


Posted: July 10th, 2012 12:51 PM

@facts, You still did not provide documentation for the ABC headline. Nonetheless, the link provide does not prove the $4.4 billion number. It proves that in 2011-12, the top 20 PAC contributors were mostly corporations, not unions. Unions gave $9.7m and corporations gave $19.4m. It still does not prove Stupid's point nor does it answer why s/he is upset that unions gave money in politics.


Posted: July 10th, 2012 12:36 PM

@Observer, his comment is actually the title of a ABC News article, reporting on a piece in the Wall Street Journal (which might have the same name). But be honest, both sides are awash with money from big corporations and powerful groups, not just the Republicans.

Rich and Rude from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 12:35 PM

Ironically, by targeting last minute sticker buyers, the SEIU will drive more folks to just buy them online and lower the village hall headcount even further. Don't like my attitude? I'm more than happy to fill in my own credit card info online and save a trip to village hall. Whichever adminstrator or programmer who devised that far more convenient and efficient online system for the people of Oak Park deserves to make more than a cashier.


Posted: July 10th, 2012 12:29 PM

@Stupid, $4.4 billion is nothing compared to what conservative groups and business interests have spent on politics over the last six years. BTW-Where did you get that number? Did you pull it out of the air? Or did you make it up? Nonetheless, unions are just an entitled as the Koch brothers to spend billions on politics. Why are you upset on how unions spend their money, but not upset by how the Koch bothers spend their money?


Posted: July 10th, 2012 12:10 PM

From hot dogs to slick ads: Unions spent $4.4 billion on politics in past 6 years!!!!

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 11:27 AM

I've not been by Village Hall today, but has SEIU removed the offensive inflatable rat that was there Monday? Idiotic, childish display & I hope the police remove it.

Oak Park is Ignorant from Oak Park  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 10:39 AM

You Oak Parkers need to come out of your Frank Lloyd Wright Homes and Hemingway Minds and need to get into the reality boat....

You have to live through it ... to believe it from Chicago  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 1:29 AM

Here is a comment made about Cara in Nebraska. Everyone cannot be making these statements without reason. Perhaps someone should look into an abuse of power (both professional and personal) while she was here in Nebraska...sounds like her pattern of behavior is repeating itself once again. Maybe this time, she'll be the one to pay the price.

You have to live through it ... to believe it from Chicago  

Posted: July 10th, 2012 1:26 AM

Does anyone care that Cara has a really questionable track record in Iowa, Nebraska and Downers Grove. All this is public knowledge and can be found on the internet. Wake up Oak Park.

Foolish Mortal  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 10:56 PM

@Bored, People posting messages on message boards need to seek mental health? Fantastic logic there

@ 30 Years  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 8:28 PM

Yea go ahead and substitute champ with chant.

@ 30 Years  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 8:27 PM

Brian was right, the chant was horrible. If you want to address mgmt you say mgmt, not the town that you don't mean to address. Whoever came up with the chant probably shouldn't pick the next one. Oak Park, rich and rude???? If I'm correct, Oak Park is the subject of the champ...and when people think of a town like Oak Park, they think of the residents first not the management. Nice try. Poor excuse for a poor chant.


Posted: July 9th, 2012 7:15 PM

@Lance. All things considered, I DESPISE class warfare - and, in this case, I fail to see why the SEIU thinks that this is a winning strategy! Having said that, yes, I am in agreement regarding many of the points raised regarding the wage increases for mgmt. In today's environment, where municipal govt is shedding both mgmt and staff, it is ridiculous that this wage increase occurred. But two wrongs don't make a right and a strike today by SEIU employees is absolutely tone deaf to reality.

Lance from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 6:19 PM

@ Unfortunately. Are you also concerned that your tax dollars recently contributed to wage increases for Village Management staff only (plus bonus checks)? Or using your tax money to make the rich richer is not an issue to you?


Posted: July 9th, 2012 5:45 PM

@Peace. I'm not "judging" any one - I'm just interested in preventing my tax dollars from going higher to pay for a salary and benefit package which the SEIU employees should be grateful to receive. Peace be with you!


Posted: July 9th, 2012 3:51 PM

Wow, can't we all get along. Christ has the last word whether rich or poor, black or white, union or non-union, working class or unemployed. We reap what we sow (good or bad). Ensure that your own heart and motives are pure and not of evil intent. Stop judging each other as Christ is our real decision maker, not man/woman. Amen.

Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 3:37 PM

OPRF Dad, where have you been?Mass cuts have already taken place? They're working with skeleton staff. However, management(6 figures or more) is fully staffed. Perhaps you should take the cut for them and see how it affects your livelihood. Maybe you can open up a "daddy daycare".


Posted: July 9th, 2012 1:49 PM

The Village should go after these fools with a vengeance. Start with a 10% pay reduction and a 20% benefits reduction and go from there. The Village employs far too many people for a municipality of its size, and overcompensates those that it does. Start cutting.


Posted: July 9th, 2012 1:07 PM

SEIU should be taken out of govt. Government employee unions, "government organized as a special interest to lobby itself to expand itself", is simply a contradiction to open government. The SEIU is nothing more than a vote-purchasing entity. Strikers should lobby to eliminate the automatic deduction of union dues from their pay.


Posted: July 9th, 2012 12:50 PM

@23Bob. I know that it's hard to discuss important topics on this forum - or most any where. My main point, though, is that TOTAL COMPENSATION for SEIU employees, due primarily to health insurance and pensions, is both a large part of their "TOTAL COMPENSATION" and rising rapidly. For SEIU to focus solely on wages overlooks this. 1-2% raises, in this economy, are generous considering dis-raises by many in society. Add in the benefit increases and SEIU employees are doing well in comparison. Done

Zone huh ;-)  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 12:27 PM

As a new resident to Oak Park I wish that the folks would stay on stike forever as Oak Parks parking laws and quite oudated and just a PITA.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2012 12:18 AM

Lopez: I do not want your defense of my pension. I have professionals to do that. You may need help defending the statement made on July 8th, this article by VOP EMPLOYEE from O.P.Odd, when we retirees had problems with the pension board some five years ago SEIU was no where to be found. So much for defense.

Lopez, SEIU Steward  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 11:19 PM

Mr. Slowiak, I would be the first one to defend your union pension that you are receiving. After years of public service, you deserve it and so do others.

Nelson Taruc from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 11:02 PM

I think village management should rescind its lump sum bonus and cap its wage increase to 1%. Once that's set, offer the union that same 1% raise. This removes the problems surrounding the use (or disuse, as the case may be) of merit raises, and gives everyone at Village Hall an equally modest pay increase in a difficult economy. If the SEIU keeps pushing for more, it will look like a money grab to "rich and rude" residents who sign their paychecks via high property taxes.

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 10:00 PM

@Unfortunately. First, the IMRF pension fund is about 84% funded, which is pretty decent and a lot better than the state's 45%. Of course, that has nothing to do with whether the union members deserve a 2% raise and to keep the hard-earned benefits they fought for in the past. Second, your argument "7% is only 3% away from double digits" tells me this conversation is going nowhere, so I'm ending it. Third, I'll let you have the last word and let the readers decide on the value of our comments.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 8:08 PM

To 30Year: You changed the issue. Your original statement was "The rich and rude chant was clearly towards Village management" who are supposed to be Oak Park residents, not the union members. If you cant back up your own words it is okay. I am not bitter, just searching for clarity.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 8:01 PM

@23Bob. First, per my link, health care costs increased 7%. That leaves just 3% to reach "double digits." Second, pension costs, for a variety of reasons (I provided the info regarding the state as one. A second has been the flatness of equity markets. A third is the near-zero rates of bonds. A fourth is that they are paying out more than anticipated, for longer, to retirees), are woefully underfunded. Therefore, more money is necessary to be paid by municipalities. Do you disagree?


Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:59 PM

Brian, in case you're not aware, some of the union workers are long term residents of Oak Park (our neighbors). I suggest that you do your own census homework. I'm not doing it for you bitter one.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:49 PM

@Brian, how can you stand alone when your head is too big to get through the door? Continue commenting as you please. I refuse to entertain ignorance. Logged

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:29 PM

To TomB: I would rather stand alone, then huddle with the frightened.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:27 PM

@ Brian, you're not exempt from having a misfortune either. Be careful what you say, your own words could bite you in the butt. Up today down tomorrow.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:23 PM

To 30Year: If that is true, you must have some type of figure or proof of residence that the upper management at the hall are residents of Oak park. Please share the figure with us.

30YearResident from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:13 PM

Brian, I was there supporting the union workers and will be there tomorrow. The rich and rude chant was clearly towards Village Management, not residents. There were quite a few residents walking the line. Why would we chant against ourselves? Senseless!

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:11 PM

@Unfortunately. Why are you talking about state taxes and state pension problems? Neither has anything to do with the Village or IMRF or the union. You even admitted that, but you felt compelled to bring up the state tax increase anyway. I suspect you did that so you could use the "66%" figure to bolster your argument. Nice try, but no one's buying it. Also, since you made some dubious "double digit" claim, the onus is on you to clarify and prove it. You've done neither, so it's still nonsense!

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 6:36 PM

According to the other local newspaper, the strikers chanted "Oak Park,rich and rude, we dont like your attitude" As`a resident and taxpayer I chant back,"Your paid fair, of course, you can all be outsourced"

Bob Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 6:29 PM

I walked the picket line with the strikers on Saturday to let them know that there are financially struggling Oak Parkers who understand that "austerity" should begin at the top, not at the bottom. I will stop by again on Monday and pick up a sign again. Thank you Village employees for your hard work and for your courage in these hard times.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 6:02 PM

@23Bob. To clarify: health ins increases are at least 7%. State of IL just raised income taxes by 66% and every penny went toward state taxes. I have been informed that IMRF is separate from state, but that contributions percentages have been increasing a great deal. I stand by my "double digit" claim. But I'd love to read your refutation.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 5:57 PM

@23Bob. Here is a recent article regarding health care increases: Next - pension increases for public employees? A little tougher. We all know that IL is BK because of municipal pensions - at least by $80 billion. Here's a link to general info: I also know that 30% of my prop tax bill is for pensions. Do YOU have figures to dispute my assertion? I'll wait.

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 4:07 PM

@Unfortunately. You stated, "the large costs paid by taxpayers for pension and health insurance of VOP employees are increasing by double digits of their salaries." I'm not sure what you mean by this, but you're including management too, right? Can you give us an example? Do you have any facts or figures to illustrate and support your statement? If so, where did you get them? I eagerly await either your clarification of your statement or your admission that you're just spewing nonsense.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 3:28 PM

I'm sure you meant "public" and you are absolutely correct. There is a big difference amongst the staff. I have always enjoyed visiting the front line workers. They are friendly and very helpful, mgmt staff is always stiff and dumbfounded looking.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 2:50 PM

Baffled, also known as Village Management, ask the WJ given that you are commenting on their site. ..and John Butch Murtagh: WE ALL WORK FOR THE RESIDENTS whether union or mgmt. Duh. Your comment is a prime example of too much separation from the top down. At the end of the day we are ALL pubic servants for the residents.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 2:45 PM

The union people seem to be focusing solely on the 1% issue and OT. There is another: the skyrocketing costs of their benefits. Overlooking that many OP residents are stressed financially and have enormous prop, etc. tax burdens living in OP, it MUST be noted that the large costs paid by taxpayers for pensions and health insurance of VOP employees are increasing by double digits of their salaries. The SEIU want this to continue, raises, and work/OT rules that make each employee quite expensive.

Marc from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 2:31 PM

Why should anyone get double time for overtime work? And is that the only issue? It would be nice to know.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 2:27 PM

Mr. Lopez - I don't see how you can make distinction between OP management and the residents of Oak Park. Fact is, mgmt works for the residents.

Lopez, SEIU Steward  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 1:43 PM

The issues we have are directly with VOP management. We did not direct this towards the residents of the Village of Oak park.

oak parker 2  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 1:14 PM

Can we focus on the real issues here? Nice job trying to sidetrack the issues.

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 12:59 PM

Baffled, the "Oak Park, rich and rude, we don't like your attitude." chant was directed at the policy makers at Village Hall, not the customers. I agree that it was not the most well thought-out a chant. The front line union employees who service the customers know that the village is made up of a diverse population, so the chant was obviously not directed toward the citizenry. And I'm pretty sure VOP EMPLOYEE is not an actual VOP employee, but rather just a rabble rouser.


Posted: July 8th, 2012 12:26 PM

@VOP EMPLOYEE, yes, still baffled as to why the award winning WJ is not doing its job. As for the rest, I already knew that the strikers were delusional. Hope the village hires appreciative replacements for you and your buddies.

Pamela from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 11:35 AM

Sorry 23Bob. My comments were INDEED in response to oakparkbob!

VOP EMPLOYEE from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 11:24 AM

Baffled, we called you what you are PERIOD. We only left out selfish unethical and greedy demons. As for the 61 year old "VOP Union employee who crossed the picket line" she too called you the same behind your backs. Still baffled? :)


Posted: July 8th, 2012 11:01 AM

Call me baffled, but I am wondering why the award winning WJ does not have a story about what actually happened yesterday and why I had to go to a less decorated competitor to find out that union members called all of us "rich and rude" and heckled a 61 year old woman....

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 10:47 AM

Pamela, you're confusing me with "oakparkbob". He said the union employees have job security; I know that's not true as as evidenced by the Building Maintenance fiasco. Also, I said that to expect the union workers to get all of the extra work piled onto them done during regular business hours is insanity. If you read my posts, it's clear that I'm siding with the union, as are you. I appreciate your passion, but I'm just interested in everyone getting their facts straight.

Pamela from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:47 AM

Oh and 23Bob, how can staff do overtime work during regular hours when they inherited multiple duties that were handled by the ones layed off? Huh? You do know that the majority of these positions were never filled. Right? These people are overworked and under paid. Obviously you have no compassion, Cara is that you pretending to be 23Bob?

Pamela from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 7:31 AM

23Bob, you mentioned staff has job security and I addressed that statement never mentioning who the layoffs fell under (although Barwin wasn't alone. Cara was among that decision-making Committee too). Nevertheless, CARA initiated and authorized the OUTSOURCING. This was the purpose of her visit to Milwaukee but that's another story... Others will be outsourced in the near future in retaliation of the strike (very sad). You don't know Cara, she enjoys staff cuts and is very revengeful.

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 2:01 AM

Pamela, in all fairness the layoffs and the outsourcing happened while Tom Barwin was the Village Manager. He left under cloudy circumstances in February of 2012, and the blitzkrieg on the Building Maintenance union members happened in November of 2011. But all those layoffs have resulted in a lot more work that needed to be done by the remaining employees. Realizing this, the Village used to allow for more overtime. Now, they expect it to get done during regular business hours. It's insanity.

Pamela from Oak Park  

Posted: July 8th, 2012 12:38 AM

Huh? Job security? Where have you been?? Over 20 union employees were recently laid off! & Cara Pavlicek recently outsourced Building Maintenance and Human Resources staff. But they don't deserve to strike?????????


Posted: July 7th, 2012 11:05 PM

Since public employees get the benefit of greater job security & benefits, I don't think they should have the right to strike. If they & management after negotiating cannot agree on wages, they should take it to an arbitrator and both sides get to make their case. The arbitrator (or arbitration committee) then would decide. This is from a federal employee who's salary has been frozen for two years and a proposed 0.5% raise for 2013 is being fought over in DC!

Riu Martin  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 10:37 PM

Jim Jupitar from "Mars" what does that have to do with the strike?? You need a facelift but that's not what this is about!

BigBoss from Oak Park  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 10:31 PM

In order for her to get fired she'd have to spend a bunch of checks for $24,999.99 without approval. Oh wait, that dont work either.

Jim Jupiter  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 10:10 PM

Judging by what I just saw on Channel 9 News, the vast majority of these strikers could use a gym membership.


Posted: July 7th, 2012 9:30 PM

Would someone please fire Pavlicek. She is a numb-skull and provides no value to the VOP. Trustees, are you listening?

President from Oak Park  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 7:51 PM

Cera Pavlicek for President!!!!!!! (of Mexico)

Jim from Oak Park  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 5:20 PM

I have a friend who works at the village and a family member who was a Firefighter and all I hear about Cara Pavlicek is that she is a terrible manager, incompetent and makes poor decisions. Get RID of her. Seriously, on WGN radio today it was mentioned that some of these employees have worked for 17 yrs for the village with no merit increase. Do a salary reduction on the likes of Cara's pay rate and give the folks who DO the work the 2% increase. OH, and did I say this already FIRE HER!!!!!!!

Let's Start Over from OP  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 1:49 PM

Don't stop with the union employees....please feel free to fire the entire VOP staff and disband the Village Board. If we burn it all down, we can perhaps rebuild a system that actually makes sense....the current Village is corrupt, inefficient, and ridiculous top to bottom.

NotRocketScience from Oak Park  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 1:04 PM

Who is behind the ANNUAL permit, meters, and garage fee increases? CARA PAVLICEK! View some of the Board agendas!! You will see that the proposals for fee increases came directly from her! It's almost impossible for residents to have visitors without being forced to drain their wallets! What happened to the former "friendly town of Oak Park"??? See the writing on the wall people! Both residents and employees are suffering since Cara started working for Oak Park!

You have to live through it .... to believe it. from Chicago, IL  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 12:45 PM

The citizens of Oak Park are either sleep or just do not care as much about how their taxes are really being misused. There were quite a few increases on stickers, permits and other tax paying required purchases to off set and balances a badly managed budget without still any success. Wake up Oak Park, if workers aren't even getting raises...... Where are your taxes going? You don't have to be a math magician to figure out there is something wrong here. The problem is even bigger than you think

You have to live through it .... to believe it. from Chicago, IL  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 12:43 PM

It took over double the man power. I can't help but wonder why the citizens of Oak Park are content with Village Hall Management spending way more of their taxes on sidewalk, sculptures, outsiders and other unnecessary things than to pay a smaller amount for good services. Are you serious? Yes, Yes, I read how some residents have families and are struggling themselves but, even in family struggles there must be compromises, sacrifices and priorities. The citizens of Oak Park are either slee

You have to live through it ..... To believe it. from Chicago, IL  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 12:34 PM

PLEASE PUBLISH As a former employee In tFinance Department I decided to support my fellow ex-co-workers in their struggle to be treated humane and fair. Upon deciding to go inside to use the facilitie and take a look around ( I was curious on how things were working out), I observed that it took over double the amount of man power for Management to maintain shorter lines and faster service. When looking upon their faces, there were no smiles, no invigorating welcomes and there were clear

ObamaCare from Oak Park  

Posted: July 7th, 2012 12:25 PM

The village is gonna get rid of its insurance policies and give everyone Obama-Care.

Lesson #1  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 11:32 PM

Downers Grove got it right. The ousted Cara Pavlicek. Oak Park on the other hand.... never learns its lesson. The village of Oak Park has never had a strike. It seems like wherever Pavlicek goes, trouble follows.

john brown from realityville  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 9:07 PM

Vop management sucks. Blue state with red state ideas. They could care less about the citizens or employees of oak park. they treat people like kleenex you know blow and discard. Heartless bloodsuckers

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 6:53 PM

As far as the time and a half issue goes, it's just one of those hard-earned benefits the union does not want to give up. It would be taking a step backwards. David mentioned that as a salaried employee, he often works late hours or takes work home. The oak park salaried employees do the same thing, but they make a whole lot more money than the union employees. And union employees have the kind of jobs that can't be done at home.

23bob from oak park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 6:23 PM

@Make My Day. I can understand that you're asking why 1% is a big deal to the union. (Apparently, it's also a big deal to management.) Management has given themselves a 3% raise on their six-figure salaries (actually, a 2% raise and a 1% bonus) without having to jump through the "merit pay evaluation" hoop. The problem with merit pay is that someone can always come up with an arbitrary reason to not give the merit pay increase, even if the increase is deserved.

Make My Day from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 5:37 PM

1% 1%=2%. Why is having half your raise tied to job performance a strikeworthy issue? And why is not pulling time-and-a-half the same week you call in sick a strikeworthy issue? And why is the village manager's salary a strikeworthy issue?

23Bob from oak park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 4:56 PM

@Make My Day. Get your facts straight. The employees are NOT "getting 2% regardless". The offer is 1% guaranteed. And to insinuate that the hard working employees are trying to "game the system" in any way is an insult that has no basis in fact.

David from OP  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 4:44 PM

Unless the Village of Oak Park is making you take work home, how can they be "piling" the work on? I'm salaried at my job which means I often stay late or do work on weekends for no extra money. The union folks get paid by the hour. You're paid for everything you do. It's not like they're saying, hey work while you're off the clock. I'm calling BS on the union's demands.

Barb from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 4:41 PM

Make My Day, you have no idea what you're talking about. Do your homework before you post. Cara is comfortable in her 6 figure salary while she lays off and outsource others with low income. Hey, make your own day by educating yourself!

Make My Day from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 4:27 PM

"Staff received a memorandum from Cara Pavlicek today stating that they will not get paid if they call in sick during the strike. Her last letter to the Union stated that she will replace staff if they strike." Awesome! This strike is not about 2%, they are getting that regardless, as well as their pensions and benefits. This is about no longer gaming the system for overtime. Is that really worth striking for? This is about SEIU bosses justifying their monthly cut of members' paychecks.

It's so sad that we cannot come into agreement! from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 3:46 PM

I am a union employee at Village of Oak Park. This place just piles work on you, but no increases. Two people resigned in my department and both of them were paid way more than me. I got all of their responsibilities and no increase. This happened all across the Village of Oak Park. Parking customer front employees are overwhelmed and paid less than 40,000. I know many of you complain of long lines, but these people have to take break too. Management just piles work on union employees and

Hey William  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 3:23 PM

You get overtime when you take sick leave during a pay period too? I say Bravo to the Village for taking a hard line. Just because I think the union is overdoing it here does not mean I like the other stuff you mention, i.e., corporate welfare, heated bricks, either.

Barb from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 3:13 PM

Staff received a memorandum from Cara Pavlicek today stating that they will not get paid if they call in sick during the strike. Her last letter to the Union stated that she will replace staff if they strike. She is heartless! All this because of 2% requests?? She approved a $300,000 heating/cooling system to accommodate the Board members but not the employees!!(see Lombard). Also check out all the new flat screen televisions at VH.

Marc from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 1:13 PM

Oak Park property taxes have increased 58% over the last ten years (July 1 Tribune). 7% just this year. Pensions are only 57% funded and the obligation is 4 times the total annual budget. VOP needs to take the strike and get the concessions and then turn their attention to the other overspending.

William from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 12:26 PM

Bravo to the members of ASCME. As a longtime resident and union member of OP its good to see 'working people' take a stand. let me say I welcome my tax dollars going to pensions for qualified public sector workers. Feels good to pony-up for something other than heated sidewalks or some gastly building in downtown OP representing in one address the corporate welfare that this politcal administration lends itself to.


Posted: July 6th, 2012 10:21 AM

@Theresa, the resentment is not misdirected The pension portion of my VOP tax bill is outrageous. That the union believes employees are still entitled to overtime when taking paid time off during a week is outrageous. Trust me, I am not happy with VOP management and the money they make (and the pensions they get) either...These people are simply ripping us, the taxpayers, off left and right.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 10:10 AM

Thank you, Dejordy. Previous articles did not mention public works and forestry line employees, only inside the Hall employees. Does this non-management effort include the village mechanics, who are of a different union?Also,the police/ fire radio dispatchers and Community Service Officers,all non management are not going on strike? Different unions or bargaining efforts.So exactly, who is in and who is out. BTW, no more pay increases for the 100K club either.Bad timing tax bills are in the mail


Posted: July 6th, 2012 9:41 AM

Brian, it says all non-management employees.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 9:01 AM

Clarification please: This article states public works employees and forestry workers are going on strike. They are not Village hall employees. Previous articles stated Village hall employees,police record clerks, permit officers and such are going on strike.Who exactly is going on strike and what are their job descriptions?


Posted: July 6th, 2012 8:54 AM

Union workers are neighbors, taxpayers and customers. The resentment seen on this thread is truly misdirected. You would support the loss of local jobs that support families, in favor of what? Another house in forclosure? Your taxes and mine will not go down if these 75 workers go away tomorrow. Wages have been flat for 30 yrs, unions are not to blame for that. Unions make up something like 7% of the workforce, unions did not tank the economy. Workers didn't mismanage the pension funds.


Posted: July 6th, 2012 8:40 AM

why no strikes on sunday? can't strike on your day off? lazy. Who's gonna clean the pigeon poop

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 7:55 AM

I don't think that the Wednesday Journal should be allowing personal attacks on the acting village manager in the comments section. If the (anonymous) commenters have concerns, they should address them to the Village Board, preferably using their real names. In the meantime, there are legitimate concerns on both sides of this negotiation over compensation and work rules. Meanwhile, the personal attacks should be deleted.

Anonymous from IL  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 1:32 AM

I am a non-union member who currently works at the Village. Based on my experience and conversations with Cara Pavlicek, she cares nothing about the residents (honestly speaking). She tells jokes behind their backs after Board meetings. This lady is truly a wolf in sheep's clothing. My heart goes out to the residents, union and non-union employees because this woman is destroying Oak Park as a whole.

FireCaraAgain It's a Reason Why Downers Grove Canned Her! from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 1:20 AM

Cara said she will be "tapping" into other employees? Well she was responsible for the recent outsourced departments! How much "tapping" does she want to do? Staff is already stressed doing 5 jobs per person as a result of her dumb actions!!! ..And the people she's hiring to outsource staff is from her friend's temp agency - She holds reunions with them at the water coolers at Village Hall, as if it's not obvious! Why she hates the people that trained her is beyond me!!!


Posted: July 6th, 2012 12:31 AM

The anger of Oak Parkers about the Village is being vented upon the lowest level of workers who provide the majority of services. Angry at the Parking people who give the tickets, not at the insane parking restrictions, rules and regulations implemented by none other than the Village Board and former Parking Services Manager, Cara Pavlicek who is now the Interim Village Manager. Where do you think this is going? Get ready to really scream about your pocketbook if she becomes Village Manager.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 6th, 2012 12:13 AM

Observer - I agree totally with your observation. Both the village workers and OP taxpayers (Some of the workers are both) have been hurt by economic slowdown and excessive and poorly executed OP development.


Posted: July 6th, 2012 12:09 AM

I don't know what the rest of you will be doing Friday morning but I think I'll show up at city hall and volunteer to help. Maybe they will note how well I work and should a job opportunity open up perhaps, they will remember my name.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 11:15 PM

It is sad that there is so much jealousy of union members. A lot of people in OP are financially hurting, but that has more to do with the follies of the Pope and the Board than that of the SEIU. Pope and the Board have given millions to developers. Yet none of these developers have built anything that has realized the tax revenue they promised. It is not right to slash salaries and still hand money out to out-of-town developers and the politically connected which cause our taxes to increase.

Tapped out taxpayer from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 11:15 PM

My union brothers and sisters: When you get greedy while others are suffering, you hasten the demise of unions. When the unions are destroyed and we are all making Walmart wages, we all lose. By striking at this moment in time, you are sticking it to the taxpayers who pay your salaries. Going on strike will not impact your managers' fat cat salaries.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 10:40 PM

@Sylvia. Until SEIU employees voted to strike - none of us questioned their wages or integrity. We were aware of the crews plowing, etc - and didn't begrudge them the OT they were making working a job of their choice. But, we also know that the vast majority of people going on strike work at Village Hall and their work conditions, pay and benefits aren't too shabby. However, do the SEIU strikers understand that a lot of OP residents are hurting financially and can't relate to their plight?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 10:07 PM

I agree Sylvia. Their importance is underestimated. They have every right to strike, and the village has every right to negotiate. Neither side deserve slander. They are doing their job.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 9:55 PM

its amazing how some ppl dont realize what these workers do.when we had the terrible storm a few yrs back and jus recently who cleaned the mess? PW.when we had a record snow falls last year who worked around the clock?PW. i didnt see anyone complaining when those plows opened the roads or the ppl who had trees fall on there homes say no leave the tree there. these ppl work hard jus like you all do are there slackers yes. every job has them.dnt b fooled OP has skeletons. Dnt judge before u know

SERF from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 9:50 PM

SEIU = GREED! Solution: PATCO them. I pay 100% of the cost of our high deductible health care insurance with no retirement at 70, yet alone at 55 thanks to our insanely high prop taxes here. BTW, Can I bid for one of those jobs at the current generous pay/benefits rate? I would surely work harder and smarter with a more grateful attitude to perform at a higher level than this current entitled bunch.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 9:05 PM

To Violet Aura: "YOU organize with your co-workers and demand more moola" Just like the baseball strike, lesson learned is non essential jobs,ie. baseball players,clerical staff are easy to be forgotten and there never is a guarantee of a re hire or pay raise.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 8:30 PM

@Violet. "If your job's wages and/or benefits suck, change jobs or do something about it." I agree - now apply your logic to the 76 OP workers going on strike. BTW, why or why would I encourage someone to take more money from me and my neighbors? We have children and we are struggling. Your "logic" suggests that I should be encouraging OP strikers to DEMAND raises of 50 percent, right? Suggestion, YOU can start a pledge drive for the $75,000. Why not make it $750,000?!?

Violet Aura  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 8:20 PM

@Unfortunately: Ah...the old "If I can't have it then neither can you." If your job's wages and/or benefits suck, change jobs or do something about it. Unions exist in order to ensure that people not only get living wages but other important rights: paid time off, health benefits, etc. There is strength in numbers. Rather than discourage them from fighting for their rights, YOU organize with your co-workers and demand more moola!

The 100k club  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 8:20 PM

""but what about the 70 NON-union employees that make over 100k a year? "--you mean the ones who actually work? What about them?"" If by work you mean 3 hour lunches, and come and go as you please. ok. That's The 100k club. I'd be happy with getting what the 100k club got. Heck i'd be happy with just getting the MERIT/PERFORMANCE raises I earned the passed two years, and never received. So yeah another performance/merit raise is worthless if they aren't going to actually give it to you.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 8:16 PM

@Dylan. Um, we have children and families, too. And increasing OUR taxes to pay for others should be done with this understanding. Many OP families are now earning less than the avg wage of those going on strike - and they are struggling to pay the present OP taxes. I could borrow/modify your phrase and ask why do YOU "care less about the lives of the (OUR) children"? Striking over 1% and benefits that the rest of us can't dream of? Today? Why?


Posted: July 5th, 2012 7:59 PM

What is also discouraging is the juvenile comments from supposed adults that are unwilling to even post their first names. You have a name a brain and a voice, use it wisely and in a way that is constructive and not destructive and immature.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 7:56 PM

What is most unfortunate is the lack of love and support many of you have for your fellow women and men that work just as hard as you and have families and children to take care our. Its sad that many of you could careless about the lives of the children. All they are asking for is something equalavent to management. Costs are going ip for everyone and its about time we support each other to make a better community.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 7:35 PM

"but what about the 70 NON-union employees that make over 100k a year? "--you mean the ones who actually work? What about them?


Posted: July 5th, 2012 7:35 PM

@100. A lot of apples and oranges in your 6:26 post. I don't begrudge your "benefits" - which is what I wrote, not "pension." However, the avg pay of those striking is $50K and you're doing it over $500 per year - 1 percent?!? Further, you are doing this during the worst economy since the Great Depression and you expect sympathy from the taxpayers that you want to raise the taxes of to pay for it? FWIW, I absolutely agree with you regarding wages and benefits at OPRF. D97 is much better.

M on Ridgeland from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 7:26 PM

Went over to Village Hall this afternoon to get our Village Stickers. Had to take a number and wait 20 min or so. Does anyone work there the PLACE WAS EMPTY! The other people waiting were also very upset. Finally, we heard numbers being called by 2 people and the someone asked where someone was! On break. Get rid of the dead wood! There are plenty of people to replace these union workers! Tired of this.

The 100k club  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 7:09 PM

@DeJordy. So if pensions weren't guranteed that would make you happy? You wish doom and gloom on people that were hired by the 100k club and offered these benefits? I didn't ask for a pension. There's no option, you pay for the pension and you get it. Then it's used against you at every turn. I don't want your sympathy or pity. I didn't design the system. I applied for a job to feed my family. I suspect most other Village employees did too.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 6:53 PM

100K: I know you pay into your pensions, but if you think it is anything equivalent to those of us with 401ks, you don't understand how things work. We don't have guaranteed lifetime payouts in the end. We can't retire with Social Security, which is piddling compared to government pensions and into which we have paid our entire working lives, until we are 67.

Don't Be So Happy Yet  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 6:45 PM

I don't mean to put a damper on anyone here about the striking parking enforcement people, but don't forget Oak Park Police can issue those very same tickets! Also, I'd like to apply for any of those positions for what they are making now!

The 100k club  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 6:26 PM

@Unfortunately. Do you honestly think that a 35k a year Parking Enforcement Officer is the bane of Oak Park, or the people that make decisions at 100k a year? I get it you hate pensions. Large school districts glamorized fat 70k a year jobs to work 8 months a year. We dont make that kind of money and wont get that kind of pension. We pay into our pensions like you pay into your 401k. You want a pension that the governor gambles out to hedge funds? Go grab a job for OPRF sweeping floors for 50k


Posted: July 5th, 2012 6:21 PM

I hope their jobs will be posted soon; I'd like to apply. I want a job where I can call in sick on Monday, enjoy a nice long weekend, and then make overtime working Friday! Union: The old days are over.

Happy Days from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 6:06 PM

Goodbye money-grubbing parking enforcement. Please stay on strike for as long as you like.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 6:05 PM

@100K club. I'm with you in reviewing pay and personnel of others at Village Hall. Did you miss my post on the other "Strike!" page regarding wages? Ms. Lopez said that the 2% raise for the 76 employees equals $75,000. That's $1,000 per employee. 2% of 50,000 equals $1,000. Perhaps you guys should apply for a Tiger Grant and appeal to Pope for a $108,000 consulting fee? I'm betting that a lot of OP residents would love to walk to Madison and earn $40 - $60K. Plus great benefits.

Glenn Danzig from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 6:01 PM

Are these the same employees who plow snow all night long, repair broken water mains, replace street lights and fill potholes? I am sure none of the residents below would ever complain if they lost water service for a few weeks because public works employees weren't around.

The 100k club  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 5:33 PM

Everyone wants to attack the unions, but what about the 70 NON-union employees that make over 100k a year? They get the same benefits as union members and make 2-3 times more money in redundant and often unecessary positions. Such as Assistant Village Manager position. The VM needs a secretary that makes 100k a year with full benefits and pension? Everyone wants to talk about waste start there. Also an edit to a poster below, the average person in that SEIU union makes 40k/year not $25/hour


Posted: July 5th, 2012 5:31 PM

Good riddance! Let 'em strike, see if I care! I'll apply for a temp job, plus free parking xD


Posted: July 5th, 2012 5:12 PM

If VOP was smart - they'd send out an email blast, etc. and promote the "Free Parking!" marketing! This should increase shopping at all OP retailers - esp Lake Theater! Turn a lemon into lemonade?

L Lutz from vop  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 5:04 PM

Yeah!! That IS free parking all day Saturday. 'Bout time. Free Oak Park parking AT LAST !! Gosh Darnit. Free at last.


Posted: July 5th, 2012 4:54 PM

Alright, avg pay of strikers is $25hr. They are striking for 12 hours. $25 x 12 = $300. How much are they "striking" for? As I understand it, 1 percent. That's $500. Therefore, the strike is costing them 60 percent of the amt that they are seeking for one year. Why? Do they think that any one in VOP is going to miss them? Care? How so can the many unemployed Oak Park residents apply for their jobs?

Tired of Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 4:48 PM


Free Parking  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 4:28 PM

"The union represents...parking enforcement officers" Excellent!!! Free parking on Saturday and Monday.

i2h8idiots from Oak Park  

Posted: July 5th, 2012 3:58 PM

Lovely...the public employee union dinosaur strikes (no pun intended) again. Can you say "tone deaf"? No worries, 53%-ers (you know, the ones who pay taxes) will support you as usual. More likely is there will be no appreciable loss of services to public, giving more definitive proof of the fat in public payrolls at all levels. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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