Cook County Public Defender Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Cook County Public Defender’s Office recently negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents the office’s attorneys, investigators, social workers, and support staff.

The agreement, which was approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners in July, provides a 2.5% salary increase for all bargaining unit employees, retroactive to December 1, 2020. It also includes a 2% raise for fiscal year 2022, and a 2.5% raise for fiscal year 2023.

In addition to the salary increases, the agreement makes several changes to working conditions for the employees represented by AFSCME. One of the most significant changes is the creation of a new job classification for investigators, which will include a 5% pay increase for those who meet certain qualifications.

Other changes include an increase in paid time off for employees with 15 or more years of service, a new tuition reimbursement program, and improvements to the process for hiring and promoting employees.

The Cook County Public Defender’s Office is responsible for representing indigent clients in criminal and juvenile justice matters. Its staff includes nearly 500 attorneys, investigators, social workers, and support staff who work in multiple locations throughout Cook County.

The collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME is an important step in ensuring that these employees are fairly compensated for their important work on behalf of the residents of Cook County. It also provides a framework for ongoing negotiations between the union and the public defender’s office to address issues as they arise.

Overall, the agreement represents a significant investment in the employees of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, and is an important step toward ensuring that they are able to continue providing high-quality legal services to the residents of Cook County.

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