On Saturday, August 8, 2020, a contract ratification vote was held for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) seasonal employees, better known as Snowbirds.
The agreement secures wage increases and other premium benefits including “paid leave days”. Though Snowbirds are seasonal employees of IDOT, months of hard work during contract negotiations is finally paying off.
The contract now gives the seasonal employee nearly the same job protection and financial benefits as their fulltime counterparts.
“The contact passed unanimously and it is a huge victory for our members,” said Ramon Williams, Local 700 President. “This new contract is a huge leap in the right direction and it addresses many of the workers’ main concerns, including a path to permanent employment.”
The ratification took place in Elgin, Illinois. Snowbird Laura Ramirez possibly traveled the farthest to come and vote. Because her car broke down, it took a bus, a train, and a very long walk for her to travel from Stickney Illinois to Elgin for the vote. But Sister Ramirez was determined to have her voice heard. “It was important. The union officials were there to answer all of our questions.” Her 15-year-old daughter urged her as well. “She said, ‘mama, you gotta go; this is your job.”
Ms. Ramirez enjoys being a Snowbird. “This is a good job! My job is very important. It’s not about me; you have a responsibility, belonging to this union you’re part of something. That’s my mission. Got to make sure that the roads are safe.”
Ramon Williams, says of Ms. Ramirez, “I was inspired by her dedication, her loyalty, and her commitment to the job. She represents what being in the Teamsters Union is all about.”
Ms. Ramirez is proud to be a Teamster. “You feel like you’re not by yourself. You feel that, just in case something goes wrong, you can call on them because they care.”