EAST CHICAGO | City employees represented by Teamsters Local 142 will no longer have to take furlough days, Mayor Anthony Copeland announced Thursday.
Employees not represented by a union are still required to take furloughs, but the city is working to alleviate the nonpaid days for those workers as well, said Jim Bennett, a financial adviser for the city.
East Chicago employees are set to take 12 furlough days this year, though police, fire and now Teamsters-represented employees are exempted from the requirement.
Dropping the furlough days for Teamsters-represented employees came as the city and the union negotiated a new three-year contract, said Larry Regan, Teamsters Local 142 vice president.
In East Chicago, the union represents streets, sanitation and parks workers, along with employees of the East Chicago Water Department and the Sanitary District.
Regan said the new contract does not provide for salary increases, but the employees were happy Copeland chose to eliminate furlough days.
“The members over there are pretty satisfied with it,” Regan said.
In a statement, Copeland said canceling the furlough days for the union employees is part of an “ongoing commitment to improve conditions for employees while bringing fiscal accountability to the city of East Chicago.”
“(Furlough days) are a financial burden for affected employees and reduce overall productivity,” Copeland said in a statement. “I ask non-union employees to be patient as we work to put furlough days in our past.”