SEIU, Park District reach $3 million settlement

The Chicago Park District and a union representing some of its workers reached a $3.5 million settlement over a reduction in hours that was imposed in 2001 and 2002, according to a park district spokeswoman.

According to the settlement, the park district agreed to establish a $1 million job training and scholarship fund and compensate about 250 current and former employees of SEIU Local 73 for lost wages. 

That reimbursement will total almost $2.5 million, says parks spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner.

"We believe the settlement was appropriate," says Maxey-Faulkner.

The Park District board approved the settlement during a meeting last week.

SEIU Local 73 official Taalib-Din Ziyad says the union has no comment on the settlement.

According to Illinois Labor Relations Board records related to the dispute, the park district cut hours for part-time employees without bargaining with the union, which was deemed a violation of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act.

In an effort to balance the 2001 budget, officials cut hours that in some cases made employees ineligible for certain benefits and according to the board, refused to negotiate with the union despite attempts by a negotiator for SEIU Local 73.

"The record in this case could not more clearly evidence an unlawful refusal to bargain," according to the ILRB documents.

Staff Writer Fernando Diaz covers labor and unions for the Daily News. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 14.