Probation officers and youth counselors were told to return to work or risk losing their jobs after going on strike, petitioning to get a new contract outside the Kane County Judicial Center Tuesday.
Union leaders along with Teamsters Local 330 said they have been picketing at the Kane County Courthouse since April 30.
“We are dedicated employees,” said Youth Counselor Jared Weiser. “But we are fighting for what we feel is right.”
Strikers say they’ve been working without a contract since November of last year.
“We are not looking for an increase in pay, just looking to maintain what we’ve previously had,” expressed Teamsters Local 330 member Krista Larson.
But with negotiations stalled with the 16th Judicial Circuit Court, Kane County Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles ordered the striking workers to get back to work Tuesday or risk losing their jobs.
Union members say they are not backing down and their lawyers say the move would be illegal because the strike is not just about contract issues but also unfair labor practices.
With a hundred-plus workers not on the job, Union officials say there is also a concern about public safety.
“There are approximately 10,000 people that our department serves through various court-ordered services,” said Larson. “Approximately 3,000 people on probation in the county that we believe are not being appropriately supervised.”
Workers say they will be out on strike for as long as it takes until contract negotiations resume.