SHELBYVILLE -- The long debate between members of the City Council and the Operating Engineers Union 965 that represents city employees is no closer to being resolved after 14 months of contract negotiations and the addition of a federally appointed mediator.
“We don’t have anything to report,” Mayor Jeff Johnson said more than one hour into a closed session Monday night while the council discussed the negotiations.
Johnson and City Attorney Jack Kiley met with union representatives and the mediator Monday morning.
Among the dividing issues are pension fund payments. Shelbyville currently pays all of the pension fund contributions for members of the Fraternal Order of Police and administrative employees but only partial payments for operating engineers.
The union filed an unfair labor practices complaint earlier this year, saying the city was refusing to negotiate in good faith. Kiley said Monday the Illinois Labor Relations Board had dismissed the charge.
“It was remarked that in its own letter to the membership the union had described city negotiators as honest and forthright,” Kiley said.
Other issues on the negotiating table include vacation time, uniform allowances, insurance and hourly wage increases. If the two groups can’t reach an agreement, the next step is a federal arbitrator. Both sides would have to honor any decision made by arbitration.
The stalemate led council member Brent Fogleman, a former police chief and member of the FOP, to cast the single "no" vote against giving the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce a $3,500 donation for July 4 fireworks.
“We’ll have to pay back salary when we finally settle this contract,” he said. “Five out of six years I’ve been on this council we’ve spent more than we’ve taken in. It needs to stop.”