(ELGIN, Ill.) – Today marks the third day of a strike by probation officers and youth counselors working in Kane County, Ill. The Teamster members are on strike protesting the lack of progress over wage negotiations and unfair labor practices committed by their employer, the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court, and calling for a fair contract to end the strike.
Teamsters Local 330, the workers’ representative, has been in negotiations with the court since November 2017, and the court has failed to provide a fair contract offer. Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles refused a request from Teamsters Local 330 to advance economic issues to interest arbitration, which would involve a neutral party deciding on wage terms in the contract. The Chief Judge has also refused to request funds from the County Board to provide fair and equitable wage increases even though she has been asked to do so repeatedly.
“These workers don’t want to be out on strike. They would rather be back doing what they do best, which is protecting and serving our communities. However, they are united in sending a message to the court that it needs to take probation officers and youth counselors seriously, because they do serious work,” said Dominic Romanazzi, President of Local 330.
The probation officers and youth counselors perform critical work monitoring and supervising thousands of offenders, including people who have been convicted of assault, battery, sexual offenses, child endangerment, and unlawful possession of a weapon, drugs and many other serious offenses. Romanazzi said Local 330 is looking into whether current staffing levels might compromise compliance with state requirements for probation and specifically juvenile offender services.
Other counties that have intergovernmental agreements with the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court (Kane County) to provide detention services for juveniles may not be receiving the services they contracted out for and these other counties may be caught in the middle of the labor dispute.
“We live and work in this county; we do this work because we care, and we want the court to care about us, our families and livelihoods as well,” said Krista Larson, a probation officer.
“We will be manning the picket lines until we receive the fair and equitable contract that our members deserve. We are committed and we will be here for the duration,” Romanazzi said.
Teamsters Local 330, based in Elgin, Ill., is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25 based in Chicago.