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This just in… AFSCME: Quinn terminates union contract - Quinn says union won’t offer ideas

Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012

* 5:34 pm - I’ve been working on this for the past couple of hours. Nobody from either side has either been available or has wanted to talk until now. From AFSCME…


In an unprecedented step, Governor Pat Quinn’s administration late today terminated state government’s contract with its largest employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31.

“In 40 years of collective bargaining, Pat Quinn is the first and only Illinois governor to terminate a union contract,” AFSCME executive director Henry Bayer said. “His actions will heighten employee frustration, provoke instability in the workplace and make settling a contract more difficult.”

AFSCME has been in negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement for nearly a year. Scheduled to expire last June 30, the previous contract’s terms had since been extended by mutual agreement of the parties. But following a bargaining session with a federal mediator in Springfield today, the Quinn administration rejected a further extension offered by the union.

Terminating the contract has little immediate practical effect, as all existing terms and conditions of employment remain in place under state law. But it signals the Quinn Administration’s lack of respect for the collective bargaining process.

“While AFSCME is committed to reaching a fair agreement, Pat Quinn seems bent on heading in the wrong direction,” AFSCME director Bayer said. “Our union wants constructive engagement but the governor is choosing confrontation instead.”

AFSCME Council 31 represents 40,000 men and women who work for the State of Illinois. AFSCME-represented state employees care for veterans and the disabled, help struggling families, protect children from abuse, maintain safe prisons and much more.

No word yet on what might happen next. Stay tuned.

* 5:47 pm - The Quinn administration’s response via Abdon M. Pallasch. Asst. Budget Director…

After 11 months of bargaining, we informed AFSCME’s leadership Tuesday that there will be no more extensions of their contract that expired in June.

Governor Quinn has cut state spending down to 2008 levels and proposed closing empty or half-empty, very expensive state facilities that are no longer needed. After decades of mismanagement, he state is behind on $8 billion dollars of payments to vendors including social service agencies. And the state’s pension shortfall has risen to $96 billion – the worst of the 50 states.

During 11 months of bargaining, the state has extended the contract three times and made significant efforts to compromise. But the government employees union, which has not offered a single proposal to deal with retirement health care, continues to seek millions of dollars in pay hikes the taxpayers can’t afford to give them. It has refused to recognize the extraordinary financial crisis squeezing the state.

* 5:53 pm - The next bargaining session is not until December 11th.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - western illinois - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 5:40 pm:

    When will the new Clown show make you miss the old one? I miss the sanity of George Ryan

  2. - mongo - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 5:56 pm:

    Well, it certainly shows that not every idea out of his staff is Squeezy. I’d say this means hardball, but who knows how he’ll figure out a way to waffle on this. Don’t think he should have done this, but it sure sends a message.

  3. - horseracer - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 5:56 pm:

    “Our union wants constructive engagement but the governor is choosing confrontation instead.”

    This from the leader of the angry mob at the state fair. Henry’s kidding, right?

  4. - western illinois - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 5:57 pm:

    Retirement Health Cae? Didnt the legislature pass a bill on that one? Does he think he is going to lose it?
    Lockout? Strike?
    Happy Thanksgiving Illinois

  5. - mokenavince - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 5:59 pm:

    Quinn has an idea that should wake people up. If he follows thru, which I highly doubt.

    AFSCME may have pushed Quinn to far. Madigan will have to take him to the woodshed. I also miss George Ryan.

  6. - cassandra - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:04 pm:

    Maybe they can’t agree on what to charge for retiree health care. The union was supposed to have a say, but I didn’t think they could stop the process by not agreeing. If so, the bill was poorly written.

  7. - In the Sticks - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:05 pm:

    Is this idea any better than Squeezy?

  8. - Not applicable - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:09 pm:

    Now that there is no contract, does that allow the union to strike

  9. - western illinois - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:11 pm:

    MJM is really out of the country now? That wasnt just a humor post? So he does this while MJM is gone?
    As to Health care I had a gut feeling it was poorly written but there have been previous posts that CMS could set the rates and so far nothing or did he hand it over to AFSME employees there?

  10. - transplant - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:17 pm:

    Isn’t it likely Quinn will file an injunction prohibiting a strike?

  11. - EBCDIC - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:18 pm:

    Every time Quinn says something he is in Chicago at an elementary school with children. If he would get off his backside and conduct the business of the state in the Capitol with the IGA and have his news announcements for the adult tax payer/citizen instead of geared for kids, we might get something done. We all know that Jack Levine is calling the shots and Quinn is just doing what he’s done since the Walker administration -shuck and jive. We need to recall him, he is getting too expensive to maintain.

  12. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:23 pm:

    This guy is such a tool he shoulda been named Stanley.
    Notice how they worked the S-word into their release.

  13. - Old timer - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:27 pm:


  14. - Flan - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:29 pm:

    Amazing how Quinn always throws out the scare word of the moment, “Pension”, any time he backs himself into a corner. I’ve never seen a governor, not even Blago, talk out of both sides of his mouth as much as this guy. He promises to not balance the budget on the backs of state workers…then tries to reduce pensions and cut pay for state workers and uses the deficit as his stick to bludgeon for these cuts. The union put off raises years ago to help the budget..and Quinn breaks the contract and his personal promise and refuses them. Amazing.

  15. - State worker - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:29 pm:

    I am retired and not about to have to go get a job to pay for health care that was promised when I signed up for this clown show. Lets see who blinks when Quinn has to call out the national guard to run the prisons. Maybe they can give tours then.

  16. - amalia - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:33 pm:

    there are all kinds of rules about pensions that determine who can work for what government after retirement from one agency to get a job with another. answer, very few jobs opportunities. what is not equal is that retirees in some governments pay for health care, but not in other governments, as in state employees get a better deal than other government employees. hardly seems fair.

  17. - wishbone - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:34 pm:

    Let the union strike, and then let the replacement hiring begin. It is going to happen at some time, and there is no reason we have to also have some fruit loop Republican right wing governor in office to do it. If the Democrats learn to stand up to the unions they can give us the best of both parties, and govern forever.

  18. - Responsa - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:35 pm:

    And people here seemed so pleased and relieved when Quinnie squeeeaked past Brady to become governor for reals. I remember that so clearly–like it was yesterday.

  19. - Pink E. Kent - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:40 pm:

    He? What? Why? Who? Because? Huh? Obviously this man is being far more effected by the Twinkie shortage than the rest of us.

  20. - rick - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:45 pm:

    From what I have heard most of the Unions are moving to file unfair labor practices against the state due to the State’s inability to bargin constructively.

  21. - BiBe - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:45 pm:

    The administration should be embarassed they couldn’t find someone with better grammar to draft their press release.

  22. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:45 pm:

    Obviously, the public unions have iron-clad control over these Democratic liberals.

    Isn’t that what the Big Brains on the far right have been selling all these years?

  23. - Shemp - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:50 pm:

    Congrats on finding a pair Guv!

  24. - BiBe - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:50 pm:

    Does wishbone have State government experience? I can’t imagine who really believes replacement workers can be brought in for a 97% unionized workforce? State management certainly doesn’t think so. Their strike plans are to shut down agencies and not even allow folks to cross picket lines that want to.

  25. - FU QUINN! - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:52 pm:

    Try putting on your big boy pants and get back to the bargaining table. Running away is not the same as leading.

  26. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:59 pm:

    word, some recorded wingnut on the phone was trying to tell me that just the other day.
    I said to myself, “Goodbye, Mitt” and deleted the message.

  27. - Judgment Day - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 6:59 pm:

    Somebody’s pushing buttons here. My betting is the credit rating firms just sent a message that the election’s over, now it’s time to get serious. You got a pass to get you past the election, now we want a plan. Yesterday.

    Squeezy isn’t it.

  28. - Mitch - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:04 pm:

    Wow and afscme supports this Chicago style politics. Just can’t understand it

  29. - Mitch - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:04 pm:

    Wow and afscme supports this Chicago style politics. Just can’t understand it

  30. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:06 pm:

    AFSCME can be a real pain in the rear to bargain with. I can’t say that in the 5 contracts I was responsible for we never internally considered or talked about taking this step. We did.

    The Governor can’t spend what he doesn’t have. The union finds it very difficult, if not impossible, to give up anything they have already won without compensation. And we end up with a classic omnipotence paradox, the time for which may well have come.

    We live in interesting times.

  31. - Joe - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:10 pm:

    Time for a statewide Strike! Pat can do his usual, visit the kids at the school near his home when things get hot.

  32. - KurtInSpringfield - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:11 pm:

    I say this as an Independent. If Quinn is running for reelection in 2014, I will pull a democratic ticket in the primary just to vote against him.

    Who is with me?

  33. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:13 pm:

    Madigan must be smiling if he wants Lisa to run in the next primary.

  34. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:17 pm:

    What’s really strange about this is that nearly all of the workers I represent would accept Quinn giving us what he already owes us & come back in a couple of years & see how things are. Quinn has been trying to get us to accept monthly out of pocket cuts of $1000 or more per month.

  35. - Albert... - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:22 pm:

    This Merit Comp Employee says…. HOOray… It’s about time someone stood up the union!!!

  36. - Geezer - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:32 pm:

    If Quinn cut state spending down to 2008 levels why not cut administrators down to the same level of that of the employees which is currently at the 1975 level. Then cut elective officials and their staff salaries to theb1999 levels. Also if he would have himself and staff govern in the Capitol where he supposedly hangs his underwear we might be able to get some actual governing.

  37. - Politics as usual - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:35 pm:

    Let’s see… He was supported by AFSCME because he pledged support for state employees, then freezes wages for non-AFSCME employees and blames the union for the legislature’s failure to pay into the pension fund. Legislature can’t do their job, but it’s the union’s fault. Then he enters a secondary contract with the union in which the union agrees to reduce or waive raises for a period of time, and then he dishonors that contract, too. While I agree that the union may be ignoring the workers it supposedly represents in some areas, I don’t see that a new contract would actually be worth the paper it’s printed on.

    The governor (can’t call him a “man” as his word isn’t worth squat) can’t be trusted to honor any contract he makes - he’s already proven this numerous times. Unfortunately, a recall won’t work because his owners in Chicago have deeper pockets than the rest of the state combined. Since he refuses to make cuts where they are actually needed (namely legislator’s pensions, management salaries, pork barrel projects, and tax breaks handed out to companies that are continually sending our jobs overseas), he continues to need a scapegoat. Whether accurate or not, that would be the unions.

    I don’t say either side is entirely correct, but what Quinn is trying to do, and how he’s doing it, are 100% wrong. It’s politics as usual, with big business calling the shots.

  38. - Me - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:38 pm:

    can’t you see, Quinn wants you to strike.

  39. - state worker - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:47 pm:

    AFSCME has become impossible to deal with. Impossible. I say this from experience, and with great sadness. As for Quinn, the man has guts.

  40. - DuPage Dave - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:53 pm:

    This could prove to be an interesting couple of weeks. AFSCME has been doing lunchtime events, sort of phony strike stuff, but I doubt their members have much of a stomach for a walkout. In the short term they could cause a lot of havoc and inconvenience. But a union has to have real leadership and committed members to pull off a strike for more than a couple of weeks. AFSCME has been a paper union for a long time. Blagoevich gave away the store in his first term, but Quinn is no longer on their side.

    I agree with Steve Schnorf that the bleep may have hit the fan. AFSCME is not dealing with fiscal realities. For decades budgets always went up, salaries always went up, contracts always went up. That cannot continue forever.

    Quinn is not much of a governor, but I think he’s on the right path here. The cupboard is bare. Of course if he weren’t giving ridiculous raises to his own staff his position would be less ambiguous.

    So- who’s taking bets on a Christmastime strike? Is AFSCME all talk?

  41. - WazUp - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:54 pm:

    ” The state is behind on $8 billion dollars of payments to vendors..”
    Really dude? Wasn’t that grand tax increase suppose to take care of that?

  42. - South - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:55 pm:

    @ state worker

    Sounds like you want your benifits reduced by $10,000 and would like to work until your 67

  43. - In The Room - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:55 pm:

    We always could go on strike, I was in the room, when the state terminated our contract, If you let them reach into your pocket an take what they want, all will be good, I say strike, we have to stay strong and fight to the end.

  44. - DuPage - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:59 pm:

    Wise up, my site is over 95% onboard for a strike. We are organized & ready.

  45. - South - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:59 pm:

    Bring on the STRIKE, the sooner the better

  46. - In The Room - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 7:59 pm:

    We can not go back, if you can afford to take the cuts, then sit down an take them, but if you refuse to, then stand up with AFSCME an be heard,

  47. - In The Room - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:00 pm:

    Here Here Dupage, this what we need at all worksites

  48. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:00 pm:

    Sorry DuPage, began my response in the wrong column

  49. - nextdoor - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:03 pm:

    The governor’s office states ‘the average state worker pay as $63,000″ — they forgot to mention the part where the average state worker makes a considerable amount having to work overtime because of being so very short-staffed.

  50. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:14 pm:

    Mzybe at the same time the unions are out on strike, all the retirees can stage a sit-in at the Capitol to get the GA to fully fund the pensions every year and honor the 20 yr insurance statute and contract … Quinn might be able to relate to that grass roots effort.

  51. - Cheswick - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:14 pm:

    Unbelievable! I guess people will have something else besides pensions to talk about during Thanksgiving dinner, eh Quinn?

    I do wonder if Quinn wonders each morning when he wakes up, how he, once a good Democrat, ended up being the enemy.

  52. - Rusty618 - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:14 pm:

    Did Pallasch also mention that our part-time legislators are the highest paid in the country (base pay is $68,000) and our Governor is the 5th highest paid in the country at $177,000! Of course they didn’t! And the average legislator pension is nearly double what the average state employee pension is! So state employees are supposed to take pay cuts while Quinn’s staff and our legislators get raises and COLAs?

  53. - The truth - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:14 pm:

    The average salary 63,000 yes but a majority of the employees at the state facility I work at are not worth 63 cents a year including the union reps. They are no better than the generation after generation taking advantage of all the state and federal handouts……

  54. - LCC - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:18 pm:

    Eliminate legislators and Judges from that average and see what it is. Did you know that legislators who retire with more than 20 years receive a 3% increase in pension for each year over the 20 not counting 3%COLA’s. Madigan would receive 151% of his salary if he retiered today.Former Sen. Art Berman will draw a state legislative pension of $209,520 this year, highest among his peers and more than three times what he made as a lawmaker.

  55. - Notfromillinois - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:21 pm:

    We all need to STAND AS ONE! We are AFSCME MEMBERS!

  56. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:21 pm:

    And you thought Walker was extreme?

  57. - Fed Up - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:24 pm:

    The governor already isn’t honoring the contract, so what difference does this make? My husband works for DHS and hasn’t received his contractually promised raises for over two years now.

    And for the record we are anti-union and think AFSCME is only out to line their own pockets. But it’s near impossible to get a job with the State now that isn’t in the union, as they have absorbed more and more titles.

  58. - State worker - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:27 pm:

    Vote Strike,,,no contract no work.

  59. - Roadiepig - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:33 pm:

    According to the Gov’s press release:

    During 11 months of bargaining, the state has extended the contract three times and made significant efforts to compromise. But the government employees union, which has not offered a single proposal to deal with retirement health care, continues to seek millions of dollars in pay hikes the taxpayers can’t afford to give them. It has refused to recognize the extraordinary financial crisis squeezing the state.

    Maybe the reason why the union hasn’t offered a single proposal is because the retiree’s health care is a earned benefit once an employee fulfills the 20 year requirement (this was negotiated in a previous contract back in the 1990’s, and from everything I have read covered by contract law via the state and U.S. constitution). Why would they offer to give away something that is protected by law?

  60. - Ready To Get Out - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:41 pm:

    Wow! Guess I’m going to have to change my handle to “Preparing to Get out.”

  61. - Cindy Lou - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:42 pm:

    Average state worker makes $63,000? Guess than I was a real low non-average worker as after 36 yrs in I went out with nowhere near that wage.

  62. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:47 pm:

    Abdon must have had one great editor at the Sun-Times if this is his understanding of grammar and concise writing.

  63. - Downstate Illinois - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:52 pm:

    Quinn must have found that testicular thingy that Blago oh so crowed about back in the day.

    It’s about time.

  64. - sullen - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 8:57 pm:

    The main fact here is the workers want what was promised to them when they took the job. They paid into their pensions and work every day to protect and serve. Put their lives on the line in some jobs and have been shortest in return. The state mismanaged the money and the workers pay. Do they always have to balance the budget on the backs of the state workers?

  65. - Victor Kingston - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:16 pm:

    In related news, sales of Orville Redenbacher brand popcorn have skyrocketed in Illinois today as thousands of Capitol Fax readers were overheard saying “Business just picked up”. Film at 11.

  66. - Oh Henry... - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:21 pm:

    Public opinion is not with you. Taxpayers would rather see taxes go back down than see the tax increase you and your members want.

  67. - Anon. - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:22 pm:

    If Abdon Pallasch wants state employees to accept pay cuts, he can start by asking his fellow employees at GOMB to give back the pay raises they received this year, when merit comp employees elsewhere have gotten nothing for years and even bargaining unit employees haven’t gotten their contractual wages from last year. Hypocrite.

  68. - Bulldog58 - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:23 pm:

    This will blow up exponentially in Quinns face, another brilliant move on his part. Hang on tight to Squeezy there Patty, you’re about to go for a ride!

  69. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:35 pm:

    With all this strike talk people have forgotten that there can be lockouts too….

  70. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:39 pm:

    Oh Henry,

    There is already a massive tax increase coming just to pay what is already legally contracted. There is no way the State can avoid it. It’s time people were honest and started debating what services the State should be doing and how big the tax increase needs to be. Even if you fire all the workers, the uncontrolled welfare spending and already obligated benefits to current workers will require doubling the income tax for 10 to 15 years.

  71. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:44 pm:

    And instead of a stupid snake web site on pensions, maybe Quinn should post a list of every state program, honestly identify the legal requirements for it, the annual budget for it, and then use the web site to ask people what they would cut and what they would provide additional funding to?

  72. - Oh Henry... - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:45 pm:

    RNUG, you live in a dream world.

  73. - Zoble21 - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:46 pm:

    And AFSCME will continue to support Quinn blindly like they always do. Henry likes to get kicked in the teeth by the dems and then follow them like a puppy. AFSCME gets what they ask for…and support!

  74. - mythoughtis - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:49 pm:

    While the Governor and the union play their games, there are a large group of people whose paychecks, mortgage payments and more are dependent upon getting paid. There are also large numbers of Illinois citizens who depend upon the state workers doing their jobs so they can live their lives. But no one seems to care about any of that.

    Instead we get pythons, videos, terminated contracts, pension reform warnings, licenses for illegal immigrants, etc.

    Does anyone know if the other constitutional officers intend to terminate their employees contracts also?

  75. - Oh Henry... - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:50 pm:

    Perhaps your GOP friends will do a blue room spittin’ mad press conference with you, green shirts and all. Maybe Madigan and Cullerton will join them. Probably not though.

  76. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:57 pm:

    Oh Henry,

    no, I’m just doing the math … that’s what it would take to get the state out of debt in 10 or 15 years.

  77. - KurtInSpringfield - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:59 pm:


    Really, who would you lock out. What public services would you stop first? How about Revenue? No need to collect tax dollars to fund all services. Maybe Healthcare and family services, screw the poor people who depend on help from the state to service. How about unemployment? All those jobless folks can fend for themselves. Maybe we could close all the veterans homes or the prisons. We can send all the prisoners to your city.

    Do you really think locking out 40,000 employees would be a viable option? This isn’t the NHL.

  78. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 10:01 pm:

    Oh Henry,

    BTW … in case you didn’t realize it, the regulars here know RNUG stands for Retired Non-Union Guy. I’m no fan of the unions …

  79. - Sgtstu - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 10:16 pm:

    Rich I think this is all your fault ! You made Quinn mad with all of the blog about his new snake friend. LOL

  80. - Fed Up Tax Payer - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 10:18 pm:

    Thank you Pat Quinn! As a tax payer who works in the private sector, I had a friend forward me to this blog.

    I am sick and tired of State Employees making more money than me while they work fewer hours per week, have more holidays (Election Day, Veteran’s Day, and two days for Thanksgiving in this month alone (I only get Thanksgiving)), more vacation days, better health benefits, and a defined benefit pension that exceeds anything I’ll ever see. They also have less education and experience required than me. Oh and many State employees retire at 55. We love paying their 30+ years of pension benefits, while many of us work past age 70.

    The overall numbers don’t tell the whole story. My favorite example is all the janitors that make over 65k per year in wages alone (not including benefits, pension, etc.) thanks to AFSCME. (source:

    I’m not against people making an above average wage for a job well done, but I am against paying people 6 figures (including benefits) to clean. I know it’s a job that needs to be done, but I’m sorry, does it REAALY provide over $100,000 in value to my fellow tax payers annually? Office workers can make sure their own work space stays clean. It’s not that hard.

    Stay strong Governor! It may not seem like it when AFSCME protests or maybe even strikes, but most of Illinois will stand with you. We just need you to do the job you were elected to do and be the leader that does the best thing for all of the citizens of the State of Illinois.

  81. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 10:20 pm:

    @- KurtInSpringfield I’m a retired state employee that donated (no pay) a decade as a local union president. I would’n lock anyone out but some of the main boilerplate language contained in most state contracts will prohibit the union from strikes and the employer (state) from lockouts. I was just pointing out that a lockout was possible since that door has been opened. That’s along with a potential state unilateral across the board wage and benefits reduction. As I’ve stated before it’s time to fight, it’s our only chance . Game on.

  82. - Susie - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 10:47 pm:

    Also, fed up taxpayer,

    You had the same choice as most State employees while the going was good in the market; either go private and work your butt off to make as much as you could grab from capitalism, promotions and bonuses, or else take a state job starting out at low pay and working 20 - 30 years hoping for small yearly increases with the expectation that at the end you would at least qualify for a pension. YOU, MR TAXPAYER, WENT FOR THE PRIVATE ROUTE where the sky was the limit on what you could earn with your education as long as you were smart enough to win the gamble. Well, YOU LOST, and now you are complaining and jealous just looking at the results from the tortoise who patiently plodded along. Instead of asking why the capitalistic market allowed your bosses to rip you off or cut you short, or asking what short-comings you had that you were unable to make it as an business owner yourself, you just want to find a scapegoat to blame for your predicament. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CHOICE YOU MADE!!!

  83. - Just saying... - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 10:50 pm:

    Henry Bayer stopped supporting Mike Madigan 6 years ago. Henry Bayer supported Quin over Hines. Henry Bayer put Tony Godinez in as the Director of the IDOC. AFSCME needs a new leader .. . Just saying!

  84. - Susie - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 10:51 pm:

    By, the way, Rich,

    I have not seen you investigate the potential effect of abolishing the regressive state tax structure. I am sure you have seen the idea before.

  85. - Frustrated - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:01 pm:

    Both my wife and I work for the state. We have four kids with some in college. We can not asorb the deep cuts the governor call for and can’t afford a strike. Both sided need to think about how this will impact on middle calss working families and reach a compromise. Sorry but both sides have to give on this one.

  86. - Oneman - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:12 pm:

    == By, the way, Rich,

    I have not seen you investigate the potential effect of abolishing the regressive state tax structure. I am sure you have seen the idea before. ==

    Then you need to look harder, I seem to recall it has come up multiple times here and if I recall it requires a constitution change. Good luck with that.

  87. - k3 - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:23 pm:

    What a joke. This is not governing.

    This would make anyone miss George

  88. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:37 pm:


    Even though I was never in a union, I came from a union family (grandfather, father & uncle were founding members of a local). Dad worked in a seasonal trade; layoffs in the winter were expected. Mom worked a steady year round job. We almost always had a pantry full of canned food. When they knew a contract was coming due, they cut back on spending, had money in the bank and a full pantry (this was long before anyone thought to give voluntarily striking workers food stamps). And the union pay for walking the picket line was a joke, but it was cash coming in.
    As a result of growing up that way, I still keep a fairly full pantry and freezer today. Anyway, that gives me a background to make some comments and suggestions.

    Most AFSCME members don’t have a clue about seriously going on strike for a long period of time; they’ve never done so for any length in my memory of the last 40 some years. It’s probably time for you to temporarily cut spending back to the bare bone and pile up as much cash as you can. And piling up some canned food might be a good idea since, even though you would probably be eligible for SNAP, there may not be anybody to take your application except what SPSAs or contractors are left. It probably won’t work today where mortgages are sold off instead of held, but if a strike occurs you might approach your bank about making interest only payments on your mortgage (I know my parents did that some years); t wouldn’t hurt to ask. If things get really desperate, you can always borrow against your original contributions (not earnings) to your 457 deferred comp plan or a personal IRA. Other than that, all I can do is wish you good luck and hope it doesn’t come to all that.

  89. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 1:12 am:

    First Twinkees, now this.

    The Hostess debacle has been backed down by a judge. Certainly Illinois can do better than Twinkee the kid…

  90. - Old Guard - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 2:58 am:

    Rich, please school me. AFSCME gave him $450,000 for his campaign. Did that buy them nothing?

  91. - Leatherneck - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 6:54 am:

    Here’s an idea: AFSCME supporting the Green Party in 2014–why hasn’t that ever been considered? What are the Greens’ views on organized labor?

  92. - boat captain - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:12 am:

    My wife and I are both retired state workers. If I had known this was coming with all of the talk of reducing our pensions and colas and the health insurance deduction we would not have retired. Can we get our jobs back-no. Would we go back to work-yes. For all those that are thinking about getting out now beware, once you retire you are at the mercy of whatever they want to do to you within the law. As it is now they can change your game plan for your retirement income when it is too late for you to do anything about it. I agree with RNUG, it is time to cut back and hunker down and hope that you can survive with what is coming. As for the non state workers, there is always someone that can do your job better and cheaper than you in a capitalistic society and that is one of the downfalls of that kind of workplace. Don’t complain about the pitfalls of it. I preferred the turtle route with the benefits at the end as mentioned earlier in one of the posts.

  93. - KurtInSpringfield - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:26 am:


    I agree now is the time. I know most people are not in my position. We were told, I think in July, about the potential for a strike, and the suggestion was made to start preparing then. We have held off on spending and have been piling up cash. We don’t have a house payment. I am ready!

    CMS can make changes to any wages or benefits they want by submitting emergency rules requests to JCAR. That is how they were able to freeze our pay on a short notice last year.

  94. - boat captain - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:29 am:

    Rich-are there lawsuits concerning the legality of the health insurance bill? Are there any updates as to where they are or what stage they are at?

  95. - Happy Returns - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:34 am:

    “If things get really desperate, you can always borrow against your original contributions (not earnings) to your 457 deferred comp plan or a personal IRA.”

    If it’s that bad, leave your deferred comp alone and file bankruptcy. There’s red tape to get the def.comp out, and the taxman has an extra surprise waiting for you at the end of the year when you do.
    It’s a protected asset in a BK, but not if it’s cashed out.

    But all in all, RNUG is right. Time to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

  96. - RNUG - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:37 am:

    boat captain,

    Us retirees will get hit less than the current employees. We might be hurt short term but previous court decisions and the various current lawsuits should partially protect us in the long run.

    People make fun of my comments about a massive tax increase coming, but since there is no political will to cut other spending and the various costs just keep increasing, that’s the only realistic solution that will add up to fixing the problem while passing constitutional muster. There’s just no place else to find the money; in the end, it is always the taxpayer who gets the bill.

    The only other possible salvation is a massive economic boom like the 1990’s dot com run up; does anybody expect that to happen under the current policies? Nope, I’ll just keep betting on a tax increase, or expansion /shift of current taxes, at some point.

  97. - KurtInSpringfield - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:38 am:

    For those of you who think State Employees are overpaid, think again. Sure you can find a few examples to support your claim, but so can I. Acccording to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average pay in Illinois for someone in my position is about $72,000. I currently make about $60,000. So most people in the private sector doing the same job I do make about $12,000 more than me. On top of that the cuts the administration wants me to take amount to $10,000 less in take home pay per year.

  98. - RNUG - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:45 am:

    boat captain,

    Last I checked, the 4 or 5 retiree health insurance cases around the state are all being consolidated into one case / class action in Sangamon County. Search under the name ‘Gordon Maag’ as the lead plaintiff. Believe the last action was the State has filing a request to dismiss as being unfounded; I don’t expect that to be granted.

  99. - Lay Person - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:49 am:

    Happy Thanksgiving Union Members! Quinn showing some back bone. Unions have served a valuable pur-pose in the past, but now they contribute to push-ing the state over the fiscal cliff. everything must be on the table for discussions and both must compromise. Don’t get me wrong, let’s get rid of pork spending by state representatives and senators, too. Also, take the retirement benefit away and health insurance for this part time labor force!!!!

  100. - JohnBoy - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:54 am:

    Did you know that the Union is related to Squeezy the Python. I believe they are double brothers!!

  101. - Abe the Babe - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 7:57 am:

    Madigan has been chomping at the bit to get involved in the union bargaining process. This may just do it. And Quinn might want that.

    Henry may be in over his head.

  102. - boat captain - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 8:04 am:

    Thanks RNUG. Checked on the website and the bench trial on the health insurance lawsuit is scheduled for Jan 14, 2013.

  103. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 8:12 am:

    !. Discussions on this site last year indicated state employees were paid, including benefits, compilable to large private corporations.

    2. Does this mean there is no need to negotiate closing of institutions?

  104. - StayFree75 - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 8:12 am:

    I’m a CPA, working for the State the last three years. I’m at 61k before subtracting furlough time. I’ll be looking for a different job if AFSCME strikes. CPA out.

  105. - RNUG - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 8:13 am:

    Happy Returns,

    I agree if you CASH OUT there is a tax implication. But I said borrow against. Another place people can find cash if they are desperate is borrowing against any whole life or variable universal life insurance they may have; as long as the policy is kept in force there is no tax implications … and even if surrendered the taxes may be minimal depending on the amount of premiums paid.

    BTW: my definition of desperate is life threatening, ie, no food on the table, no required prescription medicine in the cabinet and no / losing the roof over your head.

  106. - nickypiii - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 8:36 am:

    Is it 2014 yet?

  107. - Anon2 - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 8:38 am:

    Doesn’t Quinn’s decision yesterday to try forcing the union to take the state’s side in the healthcare lawsuit,indicate he expects the state to loose the lawsuit?

  108. - carbaby - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 8:52 am:

    My understanding last Thursday was that for DCFS, there were already 537 layoff notices printed and ready to go out if no agreement was made. We were waiting to see what would happen. Yesterday the Deputies were told there was an agreement with the union on DCFS Plan D(and that there had been negotiations well into Saturday morning etc) but they were not allowed to disclose the details but that something was going to be put out to employees on D-net. I knew that to be completely false and was pretty incredulous as to why a complete falsehood would be told to all the DCFS top staff when certainly this was going to come out within the day.

  109. - labor at heart - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:03 am:

    This has to be very frustrating to the employees. WHY is not talking about how the pension plan got into this shape. The employees paid their part - it was the legislators and governors who DID NOT pay the states portions and borrowed from the pension fund. Now pea brain Quinn wants to solve all this on the backs of the people who are NOT to blame. As always it’s the Union’s fault never the fault of the employor!

  110. - Sunshine - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:15 am:

    If AFSCME strikes will checks continue to go out to those on State assistance programs? If those benefit checks do not go out, budget will be the least of our worries as riots will most surely ensue. But that is based on the interruption of benefit checks to the most needy.

    Are there measures in place to permit checks to be issued?

    I must say that Quinn’s timing was interesting, as in “have a happy Thanksgiving.”

  111. - western illinois - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:17 am:

    Leatherneck Labor couldnt get the Greens to win BUT 450,000 to a breathing Green candidate would swing enough votes to oust Quinn in an off year and return Illinois to divided government This assumes Quinn survives the primary
    I have been going over the state results in this election. The deep red states got redder this election and the blue got bluer BUT the blue states have a much more GOP leaning electorate in off years //or i should say the Midwestern Blues do. The pacific and western dont seem to be as swingy. IA OH PA and MN all had gains like IL WI was teh execption in the Senate which switched. Those states did have GOP maps so dems at teh gov level should not be confident esp if there is a Green

  112. - Steve Earle - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:18 am:

    …and just how far behind him is Ty Fahner?

  113. - McLean Farmboy - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:31 am:

    Maybe I am giving the gov. too much credit, but I assumed this was mostly a move about prisons. With no contract, does the uniion lose standing to bring their action forcing the judge to let the closings happen?

  114. - StayFree75 - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:36 am:

    Isn’t it true the State could lay off its entire workforce and still have a budget deficit? Workers aren’t the problem, why attack them?

  115. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:43 am:

    The SJ-R article says “The administration has dropped the demand for a pay cut, but is still insisting on a wage freeze.” A wage freeze is the policy Quinn has been following with non-union employees since he took office four years ago. So no tears for you union folks from me.

  116. - Norseman - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:46 am:

    This is gut check time for AFSCME. They need to make a decisive move or they risk becoming almost as irrelevant as GOP legislative leadership.

    I’m not an expert in labor law, but I have to wonder if this action is a precursor to unilateral action by the Gov to institute wage reductions and retiree health insurance copays.

  117. - western illinois - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:48 am:

    Farmboy,You would give him too much credit On something like prison closings I think almost anyone could get standing because a lot of people could claim “harm” which is ususally the standard
    When Gov 26 unleshes his full chaos there will be many suits because there will be lots of “harm”
    Thanks for teh health update RNUG I see even the judges constitutional claim will be heard. Its an interesting argument and that is why Quinn(the state)failed on summary judgement on all I imagine.
    When Gov 26% unleashes teh full chaos I expect lots of “harm” and lots of suits. Unemployed law grads come to Illinois prosperity is coming!

  118. - cassandra - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 10:01 am:

    This is another negotiating move, perhaps designed, again, to signal that Quinn, the perennial gubernatorial candidate, is not responsible for the state’s continuing fiscal woes–it’s always somebody else’s fault–in this case, AFSCME’s. And he’s not responsible for another tax increase either if that becomes the only solution–to hit up the pluckable middle class for even more $$$. Another sky is falling move from a largely irrelevant governor. It’s the (soon to be veto-proof) legislature which matters. How will legislators respond?

    It sounds to me as if it might not be that hard to get AFSCME to agree to a two-year wage freeze, a fair deal after the excesses of the last two, contracts, engineered by Blago. But I’m not at the table. Kudos to whoever represents Management (that’s our money they’re representing) for their efforts so far.

  119. - Oh Yeah - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 10:03 am:

    Perhaps this will get AFSCME to face reality. It takes guts for the Gov to draw this line in the sand. Let the drama (and the 2014 election) begin. I can’t wait to see who AFSCME and the AFL find to challenge Quinn in the primary and how much money they spend on that challenge.

  120. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    Well, look at the bright side…we’re not talking about Squeezy any more.

  121. - Belle - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 10:48 am:

    Hope Quinn cleared this with Gov Mike before he made this decision. He certainly learned that you do not make big decisions on your own. I cannot see him doing well in prison.

  122. - Smitty Irving - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 10:50 am:

    Why would AFSCME propose anything when Quinn has shown he thinks he’s King John in those bygone days of 1215 before the Magna Carta, when he could engage in arbitrary action with no check, balance, or oversight? Such as withholding negotiated pay raises? In the private sector, if there isn’t enough money, the contract is renegotiated, or layoffs proceed under the provisions of the contract. Unilateral actions, such as Quinn’s, are not legal.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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