Metro-East News

No strike for probation officers after ‘tentative agreement’ on contract is reached

Probation union leader talks about contract negotiations

Paul Sullivan, the leader of the union representing probation officers, supervisors and support staff, in St. Clair County speaks about the issues regarding a possible strike. The union announced Thursday night that it reached a "tentative agreeme
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Paul Sullivan, the leader of the union representing probation officers, supervisors and support staff, in St. Clair County speaks about the issues regarding a possible strike. The union announced Thursday night that it reached a "tentative agreeme

Probation officers have announced they will not be going on strike after a “tentative agreement” was reached with a federal mediator.

Andrew Gleeson, the 20th Judicial Circuit chief judge, and members of the Illinois Federation of Public Employees union met with a mediator Wednesday in hopes of avoiding the strike. Through “tough negotiations,” an agreement was reached Wednesday, according to a news release.

The one-year agreement will be effective from Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2017.

On Friday morning, Gleeson did not release details of the tentative agreement, as he was waiting for the union to formally sign the contract.

He said a joint statement from both sides may be released once the deal is finalized.

Probation Supervisor Paul Sullivan, the president of the union, said the members voted unanimously to accept the terms of the deal.

Probation officers who work in the 20th Judicial Circuit declared their intent to strike June 23, after they said St. Clair County was being unfair in contract negotiations for a new contract. The officers had been without a contract since December 2016. Union members had concerns over staffing levels, caseloads and comparable pay.

Sullivan spoke at a Monday's St. Clair County Board meeting.

“We don’t feel our concerns have been listened to for many years,” Sullivan said at the meeting. “We feel we have not been treated fairly; we feel we haven’t been treated with respect.”

Board Chairman Mark Kern said the board also wanted to work together and figure the contract out Monday.

“We’ve been working with (Judge Gleeson) to see what we could figure out of the contract,” Kern said. “We take this very seriously ... we hope we can move together and see a resolution. We don’t want to see anything happen, or a strike happen either.”

The state is around $5.6 million behind on reimbursements for probation services, county officials have said. The tardiness in those payments made the negotiations more difficult, officials said.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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