Corrections officers rally outside the Winnebago County Criminal Justice Center asking for a raise they say they've got coming.
"On the county board and within the county leadership there's a lot of different things that they'd rather spend the money on than give a living wage to correction officers. But it's the moral thing and it's the right thing to do and we're asking that they do it now," says AFSCME Council 31 Staff Representative Richard Berg.
Several years ago, based on the union's contract with the county, a study showed corrections workers are underpaid compared to other departments in Northern Illinois. That led to a $2 an hour raise. Winnebago County said it couldn't pay. An arbitrator ruled if the county hit certain revenue targets in 3 different areas it had to pay.
The county says it hasn't gotten to any of those tipping points yet. Instead of the $2, board members agreed this spring to a 51 cent per hour raise.
Winnebago County Administrator Steve Chapman says, "In good faith we extended the 51 cents even though under the arbitrator's decision we're not obligated to do that."
The county won't put that raise into effect unless the union signs a memo of understanding changing some of the terms. Union leaders argue the county has hit some of those targets, and should abide by the arbitrator's original decision.
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