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Chicago carpenters union agrees to new contract ahead of schedule

The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters' apprentice and training facility in Elk Grove Village. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chicago’s largest carpenters union agreed to a contract Tuesday that will bring annual increases to wages, health care and pension benefits.

The agreement was reached months ahead of the old contract’s expiration and will go into effect June 1, according to a statement from the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, which represents more than 30,000 members.

“This is a win-win agreement for both the Carpenters Union and our contractors, that produced a comprehensive plan for the future,” said Gary Perinar, executive secretary-treasurer of the union, in a statement. “By addressing contractor concerns and delivering a very good contract for our members and their families, we’ve eliminated the possibility of incurring work stoppages.”

The deal reached with the Mid-America Regional Bargaining Association — an association that bargains on behalf of several employers in the commercial construction industry — is due to bring increases that will be used toward several financial benefits including wages and healthcare and retirement benefits.

Both the union and the employers went to the bargaining table ahead of schedule with the goal of striking a deal before the current contract expired.

“These negotiations were very successful due to the collaborative spirit of our union partners,” MARBA spokesman Seth Gudeman said in the statement. “It has led to a plan that helps provide clarity while being mutually beneficial to all parties. This new agreement will provide stability and certainty within the construction industry.”

The new contract is a five-year deal that will last through 2024.