Strike Averted as Workers Ratify Agreement With Raises, Job Protections

CHICAGO — Chicago Skyway toll collectors stood together to secure a new three-year contract that gives them a living wage and critical new job protections.

The workers ratified the agreement on Sept. 2.

“Because our members stood together and made their voices heard, the union and our bargaining committee were able to stay strong throughout these difficult contract negotiations,” said John Coli Jr., President of Teamsters Local 727, which represents the 30 toll collectors. “The union never once considered bowing down to management’s unreasonable demands, and we vehemently fought for what matters most to our members.”

The new contract, which expires July 3, 2018, includes wage increases, and for the first time, the toll collectors’ collective bargaining agreement also guarantees full-time positions and limits the company’s use of a seasonal workforce.

“These job protections and guarantees are a huge win for our members,” Coli said. “The company no longer will have the unlimited ability to hire temporary employees while our members sit at home, ready, willing and able to work.”

Skyway Concession Company finally presented the Teamsters Local 727 Bargaining Committee with its last, best and final contract offer for the toll collectors after a marathon negotiation meeting on Aug. 31 — the day the current three-year contract was set to expire following a two-month extension.

The union had begun making strike preparations such as assembling picket signs, creating banners and garnering support from Teamsters across Illinois and northwest Indiana. The union also warned the public that a labor dispute could cause excessive delays on the Skyway — a 7.8-mile connection between Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway and the Indiana Toll Road — during the upcoming travel-heavy Labor Day weekend.

“Our members received an outpouring of community support, which only strengthened their resolve,” Coli said. “We are glad that the company finally listened to the workers and the public and came to the bargaining table to work with the union to reach a fair agreement.”

Teamsters Local 727 represents more than 9,000 hardworking men and women throughout the Greater Chicago area.

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