Milestone keeps making strides
This September AFSCME Local 2515 members at Milestone Inc. ratified their third union contract since forming their union with AFSCME in 2014, improving wages and making no concessions.
Working as direct service personnel at a non-profit serving people with disabilities in Winnebago and Boone counties, Milestone employees are part of AFSCME’s Care Campaign, which has both lobbied for increased resources for youth and disability workers at the state legislature and worked to improve wages and working conditions in contract negotiations with private employers.
“It was a 15-month contract and that’s good because Milestone raises are few and far between,” said President Mike Rauner. “We want to ensure raises more often and that employees aren’t being taken advantage of, like doing higher level work without being paid for it.”
The membership turned out in force to ratify their newest agreement, which includes wage increases for all full-time and part-time bargaining unit staff. The contract also includes two additional personal days for staff with more than 10 years of service and secures benefits like paid time off, tuition reimbursement and more.
The gains were important because Milestone employees are “extremely underpaid” for the hard and demanding work they do, according to Rauner. “It takes a special person to do this work and we are going to keep standing up and fighting for them to be paid a fair wage.”
Led by Council 31 Staff Representative Sara Dorner, the bargaining team included Rauner, Donna Nelson (treasurer), Kimberly Simons (secretary), Lindsay Williams (executive board member) and Jessie Barnes-Harris (executive board member).
“Next round we’re going to be fighting for a lot more,” Rauner said. “We’re not afraid to stand our ground. That’s why I got involved in the union, because I’m all about change and I’m not afraid to stand up to management for what’s right.”