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Winnebago County Board approve to negotiate on hazard pay for union workers

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — A group fighting for hazard pay in Winnebago County during the COVID-19 pandemic may get their wish.

The Winnebago County Board opened the door on Thursday night for Rockford union employees to potentially get added financial relief.

"A big question is financing, where is this coming from. Hopefully we can tap into the CARES Act that currently exists both on the state and federal level to use some of that funding for that," said District 12 Winnebago County Board Member Jaime Salgado.

The county board approved a resolution that would allow the county administrator to negotiate with the union for hazard pay.

Chairman Frank Haney says staff at River Bluff Nursing Home are dealing with added risks and stress and deserve the extra money.

Haney says options could be a one time bump in pay or a temporary wage increase.

However, Chairman Haney says this comes at a time where the board faces major budget issues and it might not be able to provide everything it wants to for essential employees.

"The board has a number of competing priorities, significant reduction in revenue due to COVID-19 but also the need to acknowledge an increase on salary at a very difficult time, from a budgetary impact, so balancing colliding worlds," said Chairman Haney.

There's no set date on when hazard pay negotiations would start.

Cassandra Bretl

Multimedia Journalist
Cassandra is the morning reporter for 13 News Today.
She joined the WREX team in July of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a major, minor and a certificate.
She is excited to bring her skills back to the 815 where she is originally from.
You can contact Cassandra at cbretl@wrex.com

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