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Union chief: understaffing security, fire positions at Navy Pier could lead to dispute

CHICAGO July 19, 2016 Unfair labor practices coupled with concerns over understaffing and job security for 160 fire safety and security officers could lead to a labor dispute at Navy Pier.

The officers are employed by SMG and represented by Teamsters Local 727.

Additionally, Navy Pier Inc. said it plans to terminate its contract with SMG later this year and replace the officers with nonunion minimum wage security guards.

"Fire safety and security officers are serious jobs, and understaffing those positions or filling them with unskilled workers could have serious ramifications," said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. "We want to protect our officers' jobs and ensure they have the support they need to help keep everyone at Navy Pier safe."

Teamsters Local 727 is also filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against SMG because the company unilaterally changed working conditions during bargaining.

Teamsters Local 727 and SMG management are scheduled to resume contract negotiations July 21. After three meetings, some progress has been made, but the company still refuses to acknowledge understaffing problems.

"These officers are public servants who provide critical services at one of the city's largest attractions, and most of them have dedicated decades of their lives to these jobs," Coli said. "They deserve to have job security and fair working conditions, and the patrons of Navy Pier deserve to have top-notch fire safety and security officers on duty.

"Our members just want to do their jobs, but if the company doesn't do the right thing, they may be forced to take action in the coming weeks."

Teamsters Local 727 represents nearly 10,000 hardworking men and women throughout the Chicago area.


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