The Village of Oak Park is laying off the staff that maintains its 16 facilities around town, and in response, the union that represents them may file a complaint claiming unfair labor practices.

With no discussion, village trustees gave the green light last week to outsource Oak Park’s building maintenance staff, leaving three employees without jobs while bumping three more into other positions. All told, the move will save village hall about $100,000 a year by having an outside company do everything from inspecting facilities to shutting the air conditioning off and on every day.

A slew of other positions have also been farmed out by village hall in recent years, including crossing guards, street sweepers and custodians. Village Manager Tom Barwin said it made financial sense to do the same with building maintenance.

“In each of these areas, our experience has been very positive and has represented a significant savings to our taxpayers,” he said. “This was just a continuation of that effort.”

The six employees are represented by the Service Employees International Union, Local 73. Adam Rosen, a spokesman for the union, said they weren’t informed of the village board’s vote on Nov. 7, and he believes some union members were targeted. One of those released, Michael Aguayo, is currently suing the Village of Oak Park, claiming he was discriminated against for being gay.

SEIU had just inked a new contract with the village in August in which they agreed to no raises in exchange for no layoffs. Village officials, meanwhile, disagreed that such a tradeoff took place. Rosen said they’re considering filing an unfair labor practice complaint against the village with the state’s labor board.

“We would have been glad to discuss it and figure out ways to keep these people employed. The worst-case scenario is always people losing jobs and the village losing services,” Rosen said.

Aguayo feels he was targeted in this round of layoffs because of his ongoing lawsuit against the village. He claims he applied to take a job elsewhere in the organization, but an employee with nine years less experience was hired instead. The employees who are getting laid off were all vocal critics of the village, he added.

“The three guys that got let go were the only three guys who stood up to the Village of Oak Park,” Aguayo said.

Barwin disputed the union’s claims, saying that SEIU was informed that village hall was seeking bids for the work back in April and was given a chance to compete for the work. He said the village considered more than just seniority in figuring out whom to shift into other positions.

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