Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Editorial: City unionization will end unequal treatment

After years of treating the city’s non-union employees unfairly, the Evanston City Council finally has gotten its comeuppance.

A lawyer for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees told the council last month that the union intends to organize the bulk of the city’s 300 non-union employees. AFSCME asked the council to voluntarily recognize the union, a request the council will consider on Monday. But even if the council denies the workers, the group needs only petition a state labor relations board to gain the collective-bargaining power it seeks.

The movement to organize comes after years of unfair treatment of non-union workers by the city. The most egregious offense came in the last budget cycle, when the City Council voted to slash raises for non-union workers while raising wages for union employees pursuant to their negotiated contracts.

The disparate treatment was wrong, and we’re glad the city employees are sticking up for themselves. Unfortunately, the unionization will leave the council with even less flexibility to trim labor costs in the future, as almost all city employees’ wages will be fixed by union contracts for several years at a time.

Of course, in light of Evanston’s budget problems, all union employees may find the city a harder bargaining partner in the next round of labor negotiations. But we’ll leave that problem to their new union reps.

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Editorial: City unionization will end unequal treatment