After months of contract negotiations between the Teamsters Local 700 bargaining committee and the Illinois Tollway, the union and the members agreed to hold an informational picket and attend the Tollway’s Board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 20.
More than 200 Illinois Tollway members joined forces yesterday morning to fill the picket line in front of Tollway headquarters in Downers Grove, Ill. While another 40 plus members were planning on joining the group and had submitted time off to do so, the Tollway cancelled their time-off requests on Wednesday, stating “operational needs” took precedence.
Before going into the Board meeting, the Teamsters lined the outer sidewalks of the building, holding up picket signs and getting a lot of support from passing motorists.
During the Board meeting, Chairman Bob Schillerstrom called upon those who submitted requests to speak in front of the Board. Local 700 Business Agent Ted Rowley, who represents the Tollway members, addressed the Board and said that there are two types of people that work for the Illinois Tollway: those that have been hit and those that are going to get hit. Ted went on to discuss the incredible acts of heroism and tragedy that many of the Tollway members have had to face while on the job, and how the quality of work they do is unmatched.
Local 700 Business Agent Vince Tenuto also addressed the Board. “These men and women put their lives on the line every day and they are underpaid for the work that they do,” said Vince. “They are the best at what they do and it’s time to give them what they deserve.”
Tollway member Joe Spillone was one of many workers that had just come from the overnight shift to join the picket line. Joe also went into the Board meeting to speak. “I wanted to speak on behalf of the 400 plus members that we have working at the Tollway,” said Joe. “We do quality work. We are good at what we do. Your roads do not run without us. We want to be paid what we feel we deserve – what our lives are worth.”
“We came out here today to make a statement to the Board,” said Ted. “We are serious about this contract and these members are worthy of a fair and equitable contract that reflects the work that they do.”
The bargaining committee is set to meet with the Tollway again in early January.