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Hold lifted from “management bill”

Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013

* Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon withdrew his motion to reconsider last night, meaning that the so-called “management bill” is heading to the governor’s desk. Harmon released a statement yesterday about his decision and what preceded it, calling the years-long process “one of the most difficult and frustrating negotiations of my career.” An excerpt

The bill itself is not the draconian “Scott-Walker-esque” horror show that some opponents describe. If the bill were signed into law, it would not affect “thousands” of union employees, though it may affect hundreds of state employees who probably never should have been unionized in the first place. Still, no one will lose a job—they will just be removed from the collective bargaining unit.

Immediately after the Senate approved the bill, I filed a motion to reconsider the vote. This was a procedural means to keep the bill in the Senate’s control while we tried one last time to negotiate a fair rebalancing of the State’s workforce, giving the Governor the tools he needs to govern, and protecting the right of rank-and-file workers to organize and bargain collectively.

While we were not able to negotiate a comprehensive solution before my motion expired, I did secure several key promises from the Governor. Most importantly, the Governor committed to the following four points:

    1. He will negotiate with the unions a fair and equitable process for implementing the bill, which will permit, whenever possible, employees to transfer into union positions rather than be removed from the union;
    2. He will not sign the bill before the deadline so that negotiations of the implementation process and clarifying legislation can unfold;
    3. He will not use the full measure of authority granted to him, and will designate fewer employees than allowed by law for exclusion from collective bargaining; and
    4. He will not reduce the salary of any employee whose position is excluded from collective bargaining.

* And there could be a trailer bill

Harmon said additional legislation may be needed if negotiations succeed.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - cassandra - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    The numbers involved seem small compared to total state workforce numbers, suggesting that most or no public services administrators will be affected. This seems geared to making sure that senior public service administrators and similar-level titles don’t end up in the union.

    Direct level supervisors and mid level managers seemingly would remain in the bargaining unit. Is this a good idea? I don’t know, but it seems as though that train has left here in Illinois.

    I still wonder if the legislature can legislate this. If the state continues to have a highly centralized power structure with even high level executives not having the authority to hire, fire and make other critical decisions, couldn’t those excluded by the legislature petition again for inclusion in the b/u?

  2. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    Harmon obviously does not realize that the Governors Promises mean squat. He already broke promises and agreements with the Union. If the Union was smart they would find a viable candidate to run against Harmon and throw support in $$ and on the ground to their Candidate. But then again, the Union is NOT very Smart!

  3. - BMAN - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:29 am:

    Don Harmon has not been subjected to servitude as have the hundreds employees that will be excluded because of this bill. Shame on the politicians that use lame duck sessions to hide from accountability.

  4. - phocion - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:29 am:

    Good to see Sen. Harmon back off of his ill-advised hold. It accomplished nothing other than to illustrate labor is never serious about negotiating in good faith when it comes to maintaining enrollment in collective bargaining units. I can see why the Governor would agree to #1, 2 and 4 on Harmon’s list. But why would he agree to #3? If the legislature gave the Governor the ability to do something, it’s not up to one Senator to decide otherwise. On the plus side, it seems like finally the majority of the General Assembly are seeing that not everyone in state government should be unionized. About time.

  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    ===subjected to servitude===

    Take a breath.

  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    And we’re suppose to believe a promise from Quinn. Ont trust a word from quinn

  7. - Dan Bureaucrat - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    This is not the issue that required Harmon’s considerable negotiating power.

  8. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    What did Harmon get in return?

  9. - Cindy Lou - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    While I expect a lightening bolt strike me after saying this, I don’t really have an issue with this bill. Most of the people who got into the Union under Ex Gov Rod are not your typical union members. I must say I’m a little tired of being compared wage/benefit wise to what higher up management/admin. recieved. After 36 yrs as a frontline worker I’m suddenly summed up as an overpaid, underworked employee with overly generous wages, benefits and retirement and all because I belong to a labor union.

    I worked many years under ‘management’ vs ‘worker’ in struture and the last few with everybody around me as union and multi union at that. Personally, I think it went smoother the old way.

    Just my 2 cents.

  10. - lincolnlover - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:01 am:

    These workers should never have been in a union to begin with. On the other hand, where was the GA when these folks were getting the shaft year after year? You can’t have it both ways.
    And, no, I don’t believe Quinn knows how to negotiate, any more than he knows how to govern.
    He is, however, good at making expansive, meaningless speeches.

  11. - SO IL M - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    I have to agree with Cindy Lou. This really isnt a bad thing. And if we are to be honest, how did most if not all SPA’s get to their position? And whatever happened to the paper that many of them had to sign stating that they worked at the Governors pleasure? Allowing Management into Unions was a bad idea to begin with.

  12. - Spliff - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    These comments prove that Harmon doesn’t understand the issue. The majority of people effected by this are not even under the Governors control so how would an agreement with Quinn mean anything.

  13. - Sgtstu - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:09 am:

    1. He will negotiate with the unions a fair and equitable process for implementing the bill.

    This is the same Gov. that has refused to let the Unions come to the table over the pensions. Why would Don Harmon think the Gov. would bargin with this ?

  14. - Anyone Remember? - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:11 am:

    Again, why not look at the law enforcement precedent? First line supervisors / middle management belong to a different union, and as such they can discipline the rank and file who belong to a different union. And those not in a union are “policy makers” / “political appointments.”

    Many of the people covered by this bill have no power, job title to the contrary. Eject them from AFSCME and let them join SEIU, Teamsters, IFT … .

  15. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:14 am:

    - These comments prove that Harmon doesn’t understand the issue. The majority of people effected by this are not even under the Governors control -

    Spliff, seems like you are the one that doesn’t quite understand the issue. The reason these folks aren’t under the governor’s control is because they were allowed to join the union, now they’ll be back in management where they belong.

  16. - Bird Dog - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:16 am:

    I, and many of the SPSAs I know, were promoted into the positions by going up through the ranks. We never suggested that those reporting to us were overpaid - to the ocntrary, they deserved every penny they received. BUT, we did not think it was acceptable for us to be paid up to 20% less than those reporting to us. Blago came to town thinking we were all political plants from the prior administration and did not care to find out how we really got our jobs. I am glad to have escaped this mess by retirement.

  17. - Crime Fighter - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:18 am:

    “giving the Governor the tools he needs to govern”

    Does this bill provide a conscience and a brain for Quinn to manage public servants?

  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    The bill will deny union representaion to thousands of employees, more than 2000 of whom are currently represented by a union and hundreds more for whom pettions are pending.
    The labor law, which was signed by a Republican governor, defines what a supervisor and a manager are. A board appointed by the Governor determines the status of employees.
    It is unprecedented that a Democratic Governor and a legislature controlled by Democrats would strip employees of this basic right. Only in Illinois would this happen

  19. - Cindy Lou - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    –”. Eject them from AFSCME and let them join SEIU, Teamsters, IFT “–

    My immediate on site was not an AFSCME union member. He had a different union. I forget the details now as to why he was in the one he was, but it amounted to conflict of interest for the all on site to belong to same union.

    But I think some are fooling theirself to think that just because some management gets yanked out of the union (whichever it may be) that they really have anymore power to hire, fire ect. Right or not, all those decisions are made clear on up…always have been, likely always will be.

  20. - Spliff - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    Actually small town it just shows you don’t understand. The majority of the people effected by the bill work for SOS with others working at AG, Comptroller and Treasurer. A small portion work in offices controlled by the governor.

  21. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    I know many dedicated people like Bird Dog who have had it with the poor treatment of merit comp employees and have retired, moved on to non-state jobs or been able to join the union. These are not the political hacks that so many uninformed people label merit comp employees. They were dedicated to their jobs until the frustration of pay freezes and furloughs forced them to take some action.

    Now that this bill takes away any protection for these folks you will see more departures. The quality of our management class will steadily decline.

    That’s another of the many tragedies attributable to the Blago/Quinn years of incompetence.

  22. - Crime Fighter - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 11:51 am:

    Noresman - based on the time stamps of our 11:40/11:41 posts, we must have been typing “Blago/Quinn” at the same time. Yikes!

  23. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 12:01 pm:

    ==The bill will deny union representaion to thousands of employees==

    In one word - tough. Most of these people should have never been in the union to begin with. And @Bird Dog is right. These individuals skyrocketed in salary by unbelievable amounts. NO INDIVIDUAL should make more than their supervisor. It’s just common sense. These individuals have now managed to become some of the highest paid in their agencies (at least those who were well paid to begin with).

    The state has allowed salaries to get completely out of whack with its bad negotiating skills as far as past COLA and Step raises are concerned. I’m not even sure where you go from here in terms of salaries of some of the higher paid union workers. Somebody needs to say enough is enough and freeze some salaries indefinitely. And before you say that isn’t fair, non-union workers have been frozen for years. It stinks, but is the only solution that I see to the problem short of cutting salaries, which is not practical.

  24. - AFSCME Steward - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    Bird Dog

    You are totally right. The reason for this entire mess is because of the abuse of management by the past 2 governors, and the refusal of the legislature to act. Under Blago, not only didn’t get a pay raise for 4 years, I actually got a 4% pay cut because he made me pay the pension payment previously picked up by the state. This was during the economic boom of the early-mid 00’s. We were told that management would have to sacrifice so kids could get health insurance. Additionally, and this really highlights the level of the abuse, we were told during management trainings: “you’re managers, you should be motivated by things other than money”. We began to petition to get into the union because of this. My particular title was courted by 2 unions. We finally chose AFSCME because there was already an existing contract. The legislature needs to look seriously at the abuse of management that occurred and take steps to correct it. Currently the head of my facility makes less money than some of the bargaining unit employees and hasn’t received a raise in years.

    “I, and many of the SPSAs I know, were promoted into the positions by going up through the ranks. We never suggested that those reporting to us were overpaid - to the ocntrary, they deserved every penny they received. BUT, we did not think it was acceptable for us to be paid up to 20% less than those reporting to us. Blago came to town thinking we were all political plants from the prior administration and did not care to find out how we really got our jobs. I am glad to have escaped this mess by retirement.”

  25. - Mittuns - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 1:21 pm:

    Does anyone have a non-biased synopsis of this issue they could share a link to?

  26. - LINK - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 1:40 pm:


    I an in the same boat and just want an idea of what positions (titles and agencies) this impacts. I see 3580 referenced and scares me…

  27. - I don't want to live in Teabagistan - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    The average PSA earns more than the average SPSA due to step increases and COLA’s they received in the last 4 years since Blago laid down and let AFSCME do whatever they wanted.

    Some of these employees will lose union membership, but they won’t lose their step increases and they will get a small raise since they won’t have to pay union dues.

  28. - PSA - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 3:24 pm:

    There are many PSA’s stepping out at more than $ 120,000 per yr…. And many “frontline staff retiring, because of overtime, at more than 80′,000 per year. This is a mess!!!

  29. - coz - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    Teabagistan - “employees will lose union membership, but they won’t lose their step increases”

    how will these employees continue to receive step increases if they are not union members?

  30. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 3:33 pm:

    As Bird Dog and Norseman made clear, the abuse of non union career professionals is dumbing down State government. It’s sad that managers need protection from management.

  31. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    I get nervous when one politician specifies another’s commitments.

  32. - Johnnie F. - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 3:43 pm:

    My old MC pay range and my Afscme pay ranges were very similar. It’s just being able to reach the top of the range actually can occur now via steps. There was no compensation for my merits in the MC system. With so many retirements of the affected employees, theres going to be many empty MC positions. Perfect for patronage. Many are out the door. Something tragic will happen down the road and everyone will be asking how could this happen?

  33. - M Smith - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 3:45 pm:

    Lots of good points - Quinn & RB’s pretending that furlough days and pay freezes saved money came back to bite hard. Management and professionals fled to the unions to avoid it - can’t blame them. But who really thinks they are going to find a quick fix to the problem?

  34. - Former SPSA - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    I recently left state government after many years as an SPSA. The growth of union positions is one of the reasons I left. Almost every single staff member in my Department was in the Union. Having to go through the Union hiring process left my programs with unqualified people for specialized positions required for federal grants. Not every PSA 1 is equal, nor do they all have the same skill set, however the Union treated them all as the same. We almost lost federal grants because of this. I couldn’t reward hard-working, talented staff, and I couldn’t really do anything with the staff who would come in late, do nothing at their desks, slack on work, etc. Many of my hard working union staff felt there was no incentive for them to try harder, learn new skills, etc., since they couldn’t be promoted based on these skills and they saw their colleagues win new positions simply based on seniority. It stifled ambition and drive. And, yes, many of my staff members (some with only high school degrees) made more than me. But, that didn’t bother me as much as feeling like I had no real ability to truly manage staff, and I had no ability to hire the staff I needed to run my programs.

  35. - Irish - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 4:19 pm:

    For all that think this is a good thing. Stop and think about this.

    If the positions are in the union they have job descriptions, minimum requirements, (ie; degrees, professional licenses, etc.) and are held to those. If they are out of the union. They serve at the will of the Governor and are picked by the Governor.

    Take a minute and consider the appointments that were made by the previous governor who were not fumigated by this Governor but retained, and then think about the appointments made by this governor and how well they have done.

    Now ask yourself. Do you want more of that?

  36. - Crime Fighter - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 4:48 pm:

    Former SPSA - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 4:14 pm:
    =”We almost lost federal grants because of this. I couldn’t reward hard-working, talented staff, and I couldn’t really do anything with the staff who would come in late, do nothing at their desks, slack on work, etc’=

    You should have learned to write a proper job description for your specialized positions.

    Nothing in the union contract ever stopped an employee for being disciplined for tardiness or counseled for performance. You should have read the contract, it just takes adherence to due process and will to supervise.

    You most likely lost your grants because you didn’t read or follow the terms of the grant agreement. The good news is that your are a FORMER SPSA.

  37. - anon - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 5:11 pm:

    “The Governor committed…” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

  38. - park - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 6:28 pm:

    How about Lisa Madigan slipping in an exclusion covering anyone who ‘consults’. That’s Machiavellian. Very good. She had threats from some of her attorneys to unionize over the last couple years….she won that hands down.

    As far as Quinn goes, only the obvious folks will be knocked out…not surprising. LM got kids out of law school declared ‘managers’. Wow.

  39. - Big Money - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 6:59 pm:

    And someone needs to address the high wages that are being paid to some of these middle managers. Subordinates are making a lot more than their supervisors who work longer hours and have more responsibilities. Most of these so called “middle managers” do not actually manage anything but their fat bank accounts. Madigan and Cullerton should look to address these issues and ensure that the savings are appropriately utilized.

  40. - JustaJoe - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 8:07 pm:

    Bird Dog, AFSCME Steward and Irish are all right. This bill forgets that the state needs qualified professionals in its middle-management positions. The last two governors have let the processes put in place to satisfy the Rutan decree be manipulated to expand patronage appointments to expand greatly. Experienced middle managers willingly accepted union coverage to once again see a pay raise AND to gain union protection from the political incompetents put in charge of key state functions. And this bill also gives the misplaced patronage army a mechanism to move to a protected union position.
    Does any legislator really have a clue as to what is really going on?

  41. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Jan 9, 13 @ 8:31 pm:

    It’s late and this is over, but: They never should have been unionized in the first place, but they never should have been screwed in the first place, which is why they were clawing for ways to join the union. I would think this would be obvious to anyone but just in case - NEVER give your union employees a better deal than the non-union folks above them.

  42. - pachanguero - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 8:45 am:

    So has the governor signed it?

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