After portraying state workers as overpaid and then terminating their union contract, Gov. Pat Quinn now wants them to know he still respects them.
In a letter sent Tuesday to about 49,000 employees under his control, the Chicago Democrat wrote that he wants to work with them to help address the state’s fiscal woes. […]
“Governor Quinn’s latest rhetoric doesn’t match reality,” AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said. “For months he has blamed state employees and retirees for Illinois’ budget problems and lied about their pay, health care and pension benefits.
“If he truly respects their work, he has a funny way of showing it, by trying to lay them off, weaken their bargaining rights and drive down their standard of living,” Lindall added.
* And here’s the e-mail…
Subject: Update: Our efforts to negotiate a new agreement
To all state employees in Illinois:
Throughout my career, I have respected the important work of public employees. Today more than ever I admire your dedication to serve in the midst of often difficult circumstances.
We did not create the unprecedented financial challenges we now face, but working together, we must take the difficult steps necessary to put Illinois back on sound financial footing.
Recently you may have read or heard about the status of bargaining between the administration and AFSCME.
My team continues to negotiate with AFSCME and other unions that represent most state employees with the goal of reaching a fair agreement as soon as possible.
I want to make very clear that my staff has not left the bargaining table. We are meeting again with AFSCME’s team next week. We have made significant efforts to compromise in negotiations, bearing in mind the reality of our unprecedented budget challenges.
I value your hard work, your commitment to the common good and your service to Illinois and its people.
* I also asked AFSCME for a response…
The proof will be in what the administration brings to the table. All year long our proposals have been extremely modest, and in the most recent round of negotiations we moved dramatically. We are seeking only to keep pace with the cost of living over the life of the agreement, while the state’s demands have relentlessly sought to drive down the middle class standard of living of state employees and retirees.
The Quinn administration’s demands reflect its misleading and overblown claims about worker pay, health care and pensions. They are not the basis of a fair agreement. So instead of talking about respect, it’s time to show it, with a new and different proposal at the table next week–one that doesn’t dig into the pockets of state employees, unaffordably driving up their health care costs and undercutting the middle class wages their families depend on.
* By the way, Quinn was booed by AFSCME members today at the Greater Kankakee Airport during an event to announce this…
A major national energy company on Thursday announced a $260 million expansion plan of an existing pipeline in Herscher that will make Kankakee County the center of gas distribution in the northern United States and Canada.