CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel is celebrating an agreement with streets and sanitation workers that could save the city $30 million, and help provide faster response time for tree-trimming requests, rodent control, and graffiti removal.
The mayor said the city has reached a groundbreaking agreement with Laborers Union Local 1001, allowing current Streets and San workers to keep their current salaries and work rules, while providing lower pay rates for new employees, while also training them on several different jobs.
As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, those workers will be able to move between several different job types, based on the city's needs. They'd be given raises based on the number of hours they've worked, rather than pre-negotiated pay hikes.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
"We have projected savings of $30 million over six years, by a series of reforms and changes in the work rules," Emanuel said.
Local 1001 business manager Lou Phillips called the deal a win-win situation for the city, taxpayers, and new city workers.
"They'll go through a training program, and they'll now be cross-trained to work in different areas, and they'll be brought in at a lower salary,"
Current employees have a starting salary of $33 per hour; new employees will start at $20 per hour. The city estimates 50 new employees will be hired each year.
The agreement should help city officials avoid decisions like one made last year to make severe cuts to forestry and rodent control services while working to keep up with street cleaning and garbage pickup.
New employees would be trained to work on all different job types at the Streets and Sanitation Department, to allow more flexibility in staffing.
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