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CHICAGO — Prosecutors in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago have won approval for the 13% pay raise they’ve been seeking for months, giving them an increase that was already doled out to the county’s public defenders. The prosecutors, who work under State’s Attorney Dick Devine, have been demanding the raise since February when they were bypassed for a promised increase, but one was given to lawyers in the Cook County public defender office. The prosecutors are getting an 8% retroactive pay raise with additional increases through the middle of next year, said Kim Ward, a county prosecutor who attended the board meeting. County Board president Todd Stroger said previously that the county couldn’t afford the pay increases because of a budget crunch, which led the county to cut 40 prosecutor jobs earlier this year. The office has about 820 assistant state’s attorneys and the average annual salary is $69,969. Public defenders got their raise because they are unionized and it was guaranteed by their contract. The prosecutors are barred from unionizing by a 1995 Illinois Supreme Court ruling that designated the lawyers as managerial workers, Devine’s office has said. That court decision followed an effort by Devine’s predecessor to block a union drive. Kulmeet “Bob” Galhotra, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local that represents the Cook public defenders said that the prosecutors could organize if Devine acquiesced. Prosecutors in some other Illinois counties are unionized, he said. “It has to do with county home rule, so it’s sort of a checkerboard landscape right now,” Galhotra said.

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