CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) — The workers who take care of the sewer system for more than 100,000 people in Chicago Heights, Homewood, Steger and Crete are on strike.

Half of the workers at Thorn Creek Basin have walked off the job after their union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Department of Labor.

Teamsters Local 705 have gone more than two years without a new contract. It’s the first strike since the 20 acre plant opened back in 1928.

Union members have picketed both ends of the plant and set up a giant inflatable rate near the north end and a fire pit and portable restroom at the other.

Health care premiums are the sticking point. Management is asking union members to pay 20 percent of the cost of the premiums. They hadn’t been paying anything at all.

They’ve also offered workers and 8.6 percent pay increase to offset the health care cost but a union spokesman calls it semantics with numbers.

Union members are also miffed that the district is advertising job openings for temporary skilled maintenance workers on its website

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