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AFSCME: “No longer much reason to believe that this contract can be settled at the bargaining table”

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013

* Kurt Erickson with the scoop

In a new memo obtained Tuesday by the Herald & Review’s Springfield Bureau, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union said an ongoing impasse in its talks with the Quinn administration has workers preparing for the possibility of a strike.

“(B)ased on management’s continued insistence that employees must dig deeply into their own pockets to pay for the state’s fiscal woes, there’s no longer much reason to believe that this contract can be settled at the bargaining table,” the memo notes.

“In the coming weeks, if your bargaining committee believes that progress at the bargaining table appears to be at an end, it will ask you to vote to authorize a strike,” the two-page memo adds. […]

In the new memo, AFSCME said the administration continues to demand no wage hikes in all three years of the proposed contract and major increases in health care premiums for current workers and thousands of state retirees.

The union, which represents about 40,000 state workers, has agreed to take no raises in the first year of the contract.

* And here’s the memo. Click the pics for larger images…

- Posted by Rich Miller        


49 Comments
  1. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 9:58 am:

    Can someone tell me how this contract will be for three years when the law says it cannot extend past June 30, 2015?


  2. - lincolnlover - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    I don’t want to strike, but at some point, the administration has to stop trying to gouge its employees. Increasing the amount paid for insurance is probably a fair thing, compared to the costs that similar private sector employees pay. No contract raise for at least a year is probably fair, too. The state simply can’t afford it, even if they “closed loopholes” (whatever that means). However, the gov also wants to freeze step increases, which are designed to allow new hires to come in at below market salaries and to gradually rise in income as they learn their job. If those are frozen, someone in a professional position at Revenue or elsewhere might start at $36,000 and stay there for at least 3 years, plus have to kick in more for insurance and pension. We will lose anyone worth having. Its back to the 1970’s, pre-rutan world for us.


  3. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:16 am:

    So AFSCME, IFT, CTU and no doubt other gov employee unions are agitating. And payment of pension obligations are the top priority. One proposal involves increased employee pension contributions in exchange for “guaranteed” funding of state pension plans. Does this mean that legislators delegate their ability to prioritize government debt to the courts and unions?
    In any event, this all seems premature, at least until we taxpayers have an idea of what the debt really is. The hocus-pocus government pension accounting is supposedly scheduled to end in 2014 when governments are required to report pension obligations in accordance with new Government Accounting Standard Board rules. This will directly impact state and local governments’ ability to borrow.
    Shouldn’t we be waiting until a straight set of books is presented to the taxpayers before government signs us up to pay for promises we apparently can’t afford as it is?


  4. - AFSCME Member - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    I have tried to find out what has AFSCME countered on the Governor’s proposal? No one has been able to tell me that. If you are not trying to counter their proposals then shame on you.

    Lets face it, we have gotten great contracts in the past, but the state was not in the financial bind we are now.

    I think we would should propose staying at our current pay level with no raise for this contract, and I believe we are going to have to pay more for our insurance, negotiate down what they propose. I can even live with losing Columbus day and Election day holidays. A lot of my coworkers feel the same way I do.

    We need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We will not win in a strike, we have NO public sentiment on our side, the Legislative leaders are against us and lets face it most members live check to check.

    I also think Henry’s time has past, it is time to find someone else to lead AFSCME.


  5. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    1) It’ll be interesting to see where public opinion falls if there is a strike. I remember from the Chicago Teachers Union strike that many were surprised to see public opinion falling on the side of the striking workers.

    2) If there is a strike, do striking workers stop accumulating months worked toward their pension during the strike?


  6. - Secret Square - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    “Increasing the amount paid for insurance is probably a fair thing, compared to the costs that similar private sector employees pay.”

    I agree, but does it really have to be done all at one time? Raising the monthly premium by, say, $50 a month, and raising it another $50 per month each July 1 for the next 4 years is one thing; raising it by $300 a month, or more, right now is another thing entirely and could be financially devastating to many.

    For those who argue that this is just bringing state employees in line with the “real world” of the private sector: do private employers keep employee health insurance premiums the same for 4 or 8 years or longer and then suddenly try to make up for years of losses in one fell swoop? If so, please cite examples.


  7. - Cassiopeia - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    I think the AFSCME assertion about health care costs is a bogus issue. Isn’t this increase coming about because of the new law requiring CMS to charge what it costs to provide insurance coverage? If so, its not a bargaining issue.


  8. - Out Here In The Middle - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    Cook County — My response to your two questions: I can’t say much for the GA’s ‘prioritization’ of spending so, “Yes” someone needs to tell the legislators that there are debts they must pay first. I don’t know who that is and I wouldn’t presume to set the priority but the current approach is clearly not working. To your second question — we obviously haven’t seen a “straight set of books” in 50 years. How long can we wait?


  9. - cassandra - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    It’s a huge risk for AFSCME and if they do go out, they have to make sure it’s worth it. I’ve been reading about a challenge to Karen Lewis for head of the CTU, from a slate of candidates who believe she and her team did not take sufficient advantage of last year’s strike.

    Aren’t there other unions who could represent state employees if AFSCME leads a strike that is not particularly productive. And what would productive be?

    i think it’s still saber-rattling at this point.


  10. - retired and fed up - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    The law passed re: health care premiums is for retirees, not employess and CMS is to set amounts for each based on several factors, not only the cost.


  11. - anon for a reason - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    The problem with AFSCME is that it does not represent the members. It is not democratic. Members elect a local president. The local presidents and appointed District members elect the District president. The District presidents and appointed national members elect the national officials. Look at the religion/politics of the AFSCME officials. Look at the social and race breakout. The union officials do not look like the members. The union officials do not speak to the same topics as the members. AFSCME thinks it is below them to make any proposals. Bayer is out of touch with his membership. This situation has been evolving for decades. Now that the cupboard is bare, we see the union officials are the same as greedy politicians … skimming the cream off the top.


  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:56 am:

    “We will not win in a strike, we have NO public sentiment on our side, the Legislative leaders are against us and lets face it most members live check to check.”
    AFSCME Member gets it.


  13. - retired and fed up - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    AFSCME is the legal representative pursuant to Labor Relations Board rulings. It’s not easy and maybe impossible to change and certainly could not be if the majority of AFSCME members voted to strike.


  14. - gb - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    Honestly, Anyone who doesn’t see that there is going to be a strike wasn’t paying attention last summer with CTU.

    Once they gave out strike instructions, it became a forgone conclusion.


  15. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    GB- I was paying attention last year with the CTU but I have to disagree with your conclusion. Teachers unions go on strike somewhere pretty much every year. AFSCME has never gone on strike in Illinois.

    I also think there’s a big difference in worker identification with the unions. You can put a position into a bargaining unit, but you can’t make the worker identify with the union or share its goals.

    My guess is there will be no strike. If there is one, I doubt it will last very long. Workers are not prepared for the loss of income and they are uncertain what a victory would look like.


  16. - Nickypiii - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    Let the UNION do its job representing you as employees. Union means standing together and staying together. There is always criticism of unions by members when negotiations are tough. However, it is usually because members don’t read what is being sent to them by the union.


  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    Let me guess member, you’re stepped out right? Easy to say let’s take a pay freeze when you are. I hate doing the same job as the guy beside me, who happens to have been hired 2 years ago and has yet to see a raise, let alone try to convince him to just “stay where you’re at on pay”. We need to get our fellow union brother and sisters their steps. That shouldn’t be a bargaining chip period. Really afscme agreed to freeze wages for a year? Funny no one has ran that past any of the job members at my work site! Thanks for nothing Henry!


  18. - cassandra - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    Presumably, members would have to forgo salaries during a strike. For many rank and file, this would be a hardship–maybe not for those highly paid middle managers who got unionized thanks to Blago/Quinn in recent years, but the majority rank and file would suffer.

    And Quinn would likely take a lot of the heat for a lapse in public services, not good for his current gubernatorial campaign.

    It’s too risky.


  19. - Just Because - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    What about people like ME? Merit comp, NO raise in 10 years. I have to pay all these increases also. What do i give up in my budget for these huge increases? believe it or not my best move might be quit working and draw wellfare.


  20. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Just Because, no one is getting wealthy off of welfare. What’s your problem? Do you have poverty envy?


  21. - Fred's Mustache - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    === What do i give up in my budget for these huge increases? believe it or not my best move might be quit working and draw wellfare. ===

    Now thats an intelligent comment. How about this concept: If you are unhappy with your current level of compensation, look for employment elsewhere!

    This is seriously what is wrong with America. People are more obsessed with what “everyone else is getting at their expense” and less focused on taking steps to better their own lives. “Welfare” serves a purpose and does provide some much needed help to the poorest of the poor and the working poor. I truely doubt that you are an individual who is an intended recipient of “welfare” benefits or that you would even qualify for such assistance.


  22. - Cosmic Charlie - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    The strike head count at my facility is 90%. People were ready to walkout 6 weeks ago. 90% of 1100 is nearly 1000 strikers. Advice to both sides.
    Union - move soon while sentiment is still high…

    Mgt - your unwillingness to move to a less severe proposal gives employees little choice on striking. Come to the table with a more reasonable proposal and sentiment to strike will fade…FAST!


  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    I’m afraid there’s going to be a strike. The waters were poisoned when Quinn refused to give contractual pay raises to thousands of employees. At that point Bayer became unhinged. It became personal and opportunities to negotioate real reforms were squandered.
    There will be a strike. I think it’ll last more than two weeks. In the end it will contribute to Quinn’s defeat for governor and Bayer will lose his job too.


  24. - lincolnlover - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    Anonymous hit the real stumbling block here:

    “I hate doing the same job as the guy beside me, who happens to have been hired 2 years ago and has yet to see a raise, let alone try to convince him to just “stay where you’re at on pay”. We need to get our fellow union brother and sisters their steps. That shouldn’t be a bargaining chip period.”


  25. - Fred's Mustache - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    === I hate doing the same job as the guy beside me, who happens to have been hired 2 years ago and has yet to see a raise, let alone try to convince him to just “stay where you’re at on pay”. We need to get our fellow union brother and sisters their steps. That shouldn’t be a bargaining chip period. ===

    I hate to say it, but welcome to the new reality. When it comes to getting raises, AFSCME members have been far better off than their Merit Comp peers or their Management for years. A reasonable look at the states finances would show that the raises are just not possible at this time. Think about if this was a situation in the private sector: If you worked for a corporation in the financial state similar to that of the State, you would be thrilled that you aren’t going to lose your jobs or have to take a pay cut.


  26. - BiBe - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    How does Mr. Erickson get to call this a scoop? This flyer began being hand-delivered to every AFSCME employee in worksites all over the state on Feb. 11th. Is this what passes for investigative journalism these days?


  27. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    ===How does Mr. Erickson get to call this a scoop? ===

    I called it that.


  28. - lincolnlover - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 1:30 pm:

    Mr. Mustache - You are right about merit comp vs union employees. That’s why no union member wants to move up the line. However, step increases within pay grades are designed to give employees incentives to learn their jobs quickly so they can increase in pay. Its kind of like a training wage - you start out low, but you have potential to grow. If we can’t promise beginning workers any incentive, we won’t get or keep them.


  29. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 2:19 pm:

    What’s the over/under on how many days/weeks/months go by before anyone actually notices the strike has begun
    “Rush minute” might ease to 30 seconds. The road to Edinburg will be less crowded
    What other changes shall we “see”?


  30. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    lincolnlover

    I would disagree on the step logic. From my viewpoint, they are a hangover from the pre-union civil service days and are now just longivity increases received for simply showing up. Back before the unions got involved, they did serve a purpose because there were no regular cost of living raises.

    My personal opinion is the step increases should have been eliminated when the unions started bargaining for the union positions. If they do their job well, they can be put in for merit increases just like the non-union employees.


  31. - Dan Bureaucrat - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    Looks like adventurism. Hope they aren’t inspired by the teacher’s union, which had a fine villain, and a lot of public support.

    You won’t win friends or grow money by scorching the earth.


  32. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 4:09 pm:

    === What’s the over/under on how many days/weeks/months go by before anyone actually notices the strike has begun ===

    I haven’t noticed much in the press about the contract negotiations, let alone ANY talk of a strike. I was discussing this with Ms dupage dan over lunch. She also works for a gov’t agency. All this talk about pension reform but nothing in the papers about contract negotiations or strike. Compare that to the CTU teacher contract/strike. Noon to noon coverage - non-stop. I don’t think that bodes well for the rank and file and their chances in a strike. I just don’t think folks have the same sympathies for SoS employees, public aid workers or DCFS case managers. They do an important, vital job but they just don’t have the curb appeal as Ms Sweet Apple, the 1st grade teacher.

    Gotta do your power analysis here. The vibe ain’t good.


  33. - State Worker - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 4:17 pm:

    The strike will be a short one because once link card users stop getting their freebies there will be a lot of Chicago pressure to end the strike.


  34. - South - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 5:16 pm:

    Well we can strike or get ready to downsize due the ridiculous concessions PQ is trying to shove down out throats. I will vote for the STRIKE!!!


  35. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 5:58 pm:

    I am not an AFSCME member, but a few thoughts.

    I do not envy their position. State spending to maintain headcounts, structural pension changes, and a contract. Three issues inextricably linked in their members’ pockets, but none of which they can put on a single table to resolve with a single party at once. if they make concessions on one, they are likely to be screwed on the other two.

    At the same time, what is the likely outcome of a strike? Quinn’s approval numbers only go up. What if state offices are only open four days a week, or closed, and nobody notices? is the state suddenly going to find a pot of money? Nope.

    The public MIGHT rally around state workers, but don’t bet on it, and don’t fall into comparisons with the CTU. Teachers are a different animal, Chicagoans love anyone who sticks it to City Hall, CTU was fighting for more pay for more work–not the same work, and there’s roughly one ctu member on every block in Chicago.


  36. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 6:19 pm:

    State Worker - Good to hear from another right wing public employee who hates the government except for the paycheck. Good luck with that strike, I’m guessing at least half of your coworkers won’t be up for going without pay. Doubt the public will sympathize much with those that do.

    In reality, seems like wind down final posturing, I’m guessing they’re near a deal.


  37. - Kimcon55 - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 7:17 pm:

    How about all of the IDES employees that have already recd their layoff notices? Because federal funding is declining… Yet at least 24 psa’s have been hired in central office. Offices are closing and no one seems concerned about it! Don’t kid yourselves, I don’t think they would miss any of us!


  38. - Let it be - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 9:15 pm:

    If theres a strike there will be rioting at the “public aid” offices across the State. Those who think there will be no media coverage of the strike (if there is one) are mistaken. There already is a riot atmosphere at Local Offices due to excessive wait times, poor customer service and delayed food stamp and medical benefits because of understaffing. If Caseworkers can barely stem the tide, imagine what will happen when public aid recipients notice that their Link card has no money to buy food and the DHS office is closed! I don’t think they will let it happen. A most unsavory compromise will be reached.


  39. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 10:51 pm:

    The strike will last however long the creaking automated systems can keep churning out the welfare payments and other benefits. Once that breaks down, and it will fairly quickly, then some of the scenarios others are suggesting will happen.

    BTW: I don’t know if anyone has thought about this, but I believe in Illinois striking workers are eligible for food stamps. Should be an interesting scene with the former workers sitting down across the desk from the remaining non-union supervisors and applyoing for their benefits.


  40. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:09 pm:

    Our facility is over 90% for a strike. The public WILL pay attention when irreversible harm befalls a baby or senior citizen. In my line of medical line of work, that is a distinct possibility. We’ve lost 10% of our staff this year alone. So many have reached their BS threshold, and they are out. Many key position people are out, and there simply isn’t the staff to pick up all the slack. Just hire some newbie come in to do my job. I’m sure they will get the purchasing paperwork for critical medical supplies through CMS procurement. This is not the private sector where there is a petty cash drawer for miscellaneous expenses and phoning office depot for next day delivery of a new fax machine.


  41. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:13 pm:

    BTW, isn’t it about time for state workers to be receiving our next “I value all you do” email from Governor Quinn?


  42. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 20, 13 @ 11:21 pm:

    Strike. No one will notice.


  43. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 7:31 am:

    Quinn wants a strike because to him it simply means unnegotiated furloughs for employees. It won’t last long, but it will help the short term bottom line for the state.


  44. - Juvenal - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 8:22 am:

    I am not suggesting the media will not cover a strike, nor a lack of negative impact or public concern.

    However, I think anyone who argues the public’s animosity will fall entirely or even mostly on Quinn is mistaken.

    Do you think anyone whose public assistance is disrupted is going to have much sympathy for state workers who are striking over a pay freeze? That is delusional.


  45. - KurtInSpringfield - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 8:24 am:

    @Jimbo: The new contract would have normally covered from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015 making it a three year contract.

    @Anonymous: Have you filed your taxes yet? Are you expecting a refund? If we are on strike you won’t get it. Plus Revenue brings in the majority of general revenues for the state ($28B in 2010). When we walk out, the state stops functioning, because there will be no money coming in to spend. Revenue employees process all those payments. There are not enough managers at Revenue to open all the mail and process all the payments that come into the building.

    @DupageDave: You think most members will not strike because they are living paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford it? Under management’s proposal, the increase in health insurance premiums alone amounts to a 14% reduction per paycheck in my take home pay this year (retroactive to July 1, 2012). Next year it will be more. A strike would be a one time, temporary financial hit. Management’s contract would be a permanent ongoing financial hit. Members can’t afford to accept management’s proposal, especially under your scenario. If people are living paycheck to paycheck now, what would a permanent reduction of $300 a paycheck do to their finances? (Note: The $300 represents the impact on my premium. Because new premiums are based on a sliding scale, For others the amount may be more or less depending on income and the number of dependents.)

    @DupageDan FYI: Only employees who are under the governor’s jurisdiction would strike. Secretary of State (SoS) employees do not work for the governor. Therefore they would not go out on strike. The same for all employees who work for other elected officers. They have their own unions and contracts.


  46. - Samster23 - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 8:36 am:

    No one is asking for raises, just pay us the money that we are owed. We deferred our raises twice to help the state, reportedly 90 million dollars, what happened to that money! Then Quinn doesn’t honor the contract, how can we ever agree on a new contract when they still haven’t honored the last one!


  47. - Weller - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 8:50 am:

    At a time when so many people are out of work, public sentiment will not be on the side of AFSCME. Bayer needs to start looking out for the workers. The constant hiring freezes are not helping. Scare tactics have resulted in retirements that agencies cannot fill due to constant freezes. Enough is enough.


  48. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    The complete lack of respect and contempt for BOTH merit comp and union employees by two administrations has brought us to the current state of existence. I was called crazy for taking a state job in th 1990s when the private sector was floating along on a tech bubble. Those same folk are choosing to demonize me now. I’ll have to let the politicians worry about public sentiment…that’s all they care about anyhow. I’ll worry about doing my work in the professional manner I always have, until there is a stike.


  49. - KurtInSpringfield - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    As far as public sentiment, I think the Governor would experience more of a public backlash if we strike. Anyhow what do I care about public sentiment? Will public sentiment pay my bills, put food on the table for my family, or pay for my daughter’s college? Ultimately this has nothing to do with public sentiment. There will always be some who are anti-state employee. It is about negotiations between employees and an employer, and negotiating a decent contract that will not be such a huge financial burden on employees and retirees. I expect health insurance premiums to go up some, but what the governor is asking for is too much at one time, especially for lower paid employees with families and retirees.

    Also, he still wants to screw half the employees (approximately 20,000, DHS and DOC being the two largest) that haven’t gotten their raises from FY 2011 under the previous contract. The governor in his proposal has graciously offered to pay them their FY2011 raises in the last year of the contract (FY2015) with no backpay. What a joke! Why would we agree to that? We have already won two legal decisions regarding the raises and back pay. They can appeal all they want, but those decisions will stand. They are wasting our taxpayer dollars on these appeals. I got my raises, but I still wouldn’t sign a contract that did not include language that unpaid raises from the previous contract would be paid with back pay.

    “When people are united, they can’t be defeated.” - Governor Pat Quinn


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        * Appellate court: State workers owed back wages
        * Quinn leans on top Democratic support — Obamas, Clinton
        * IDOC investigation prompts state prison warden to retire
        * Lawmaker panel plans to resume anti-violence program investigation
        * Quinn touts first year of Affordable Care Act
        * State-owned airplanes to be sold in online auction
        * GOP opposition to school funding bill irks Manar
        * Durbin, Oberweis debate background checks for guns
        * Election 2014: Simon, Topinka spar over transparency, ethics in comptroller’s race
        * Statehouse Insider: There are a lot of campaign ads, in case you haven’t noticed

        * De Blasio signs order raising NYC living wage to $13.13
        * New intrigue in political war over Illiana expressway
        * Pat Tillman's widow launches a 'Stitch Fix' for kids out of Chicago
        * Pat Tillman's widow launches a Trunk Club for kids out of Chicago
        * Lawsuit alleges sperm bank got order wrong


        * Rauner’s biggest strength proving to be greatest weakness: Mihalopoulos
        * CPS students with good GPA could get free ride to City Colleges
        * Union: CPS was warned that janitor job cuts could cause problems
        * Lawyer: Key witness to answer questions from panel probing NRI
        * Emanuel super PAC rakes in $2.4 million since late June
        * Pedicab operators say city rules putting brakes on their business
        * IHSA to boycott legislative hearing set for Friday in Chicago
        * Quinn urges City Council to tighten reins on small digital signs
        * Man charged with killing girlfriend, 7-year-old daughter
        * Hackers might have Jewel-Osco customers credit card data — again


        * 16-year-old boy killed in South Side shooting
        * FBI: Former SIU student threatened to blow up dorms, kill students
        * Accounts of arrest vary during Naperville 'smart meter' trial
        * Prison warden retires after link to sex offender
        * Suit: Black donor's sperm sent to white woman
        * Lawyers want evidence seized in Sacred Heart raid tossed
        * Man pleads guilty to sex abuse of disabled woman
        * Elgin woman dies in head-on crash
        * Hampshire High School evacuated after fire
        * Facebook posting offers new details on suspect in fire at FAA radar center


        * Listen to State Week - September 19, 2014
        * Clearing The Air On Clean Air Plan
        * Meet Bishop Blase Cupich, Chicago's incoming archbishop
        * After the accident: Metra and pedestrian fatalities
        * Cupich to be next Chicago archbishop
        * Chicago moves on taxi reforms to leave more money in cabbies' pockets
        * Court Rules AFSCME Members Are Owed Money
        * Chicago Mayor: Lower Penalties For Drugs
        * Can Politics And Prison Reform Mix?
        * Nursing Program Comes To UIS


        * Michael Gerson: Two cheers for Obama, not three
        * Appellate court: State workers owed back wages
        * Quinn leans on top Democratic support — Obamas, Clinton
        * IDOC investigation prompts state prison warden to retire
        * Panel plans to resume anti-violence program probe
        * Lawmaker panel plans to resume anti-violence program investigation
        * Quinn touts first year of Affordable Care Act
        * State-owned airplanes to be sold in online auction
        * Our Opinion: Job creation is a health priority in Sangamon County
        * GOP opposition to school funding bill irks Manar


        * Open Line
        * Downtown street project almost ready to roll
        * Linda Harsh
        * Alice Hees
        * Dr. Earl Patton
        * Ronald 'Blue' Ward
        * Marty Jacobs
        * Evan Roddy
        * Denise Vaughn
        * Bobbie Madison


        * Elgin's strides continue with win over Streamwood
        * Girls tennis: Tuesday's results
        * Girls volleyball: Tuesday's results
        * Girls golf: Tuesday's result
        * Boys soccer: Tuesday's results

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        * FAA Rejects Call For New O'Hare Noise Stud...
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        * U.S. House Passes Resolution Condemning An...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Statement on...

        * Republican Oberweis courting votes in Afri......
        * Republican Oberweis courting votes in Afri......
        * GateHouse Media special report: Grading Co......
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        * Kirk Cameron Calls Homosexuality 'Unnatural'...
        * US talk of thawing Iran relations highligh......

        * Parents Complain About Predatory Towing Outside Private School
        * Paid Sunday Metered Parking Returns To Lakeview
        * Lawsuits won't defeat bigots
        * GCA Special Event with CTU Pres. Karen Lewis
        * Sun-Times: The sitdown Seaway Bank President/CEO
        * GCA community forum with Karen Lewis
        * Lems BBQ on 75th Street celebrating 60 years
        * CBS 2: Probation Officer For Teen Charged With Assaulting CSU Student Suspended
        * DNA Info: A Bloomingdale Trail for Englewood? City Moves To Get Train Tracks for Park
        * Recap of Townhall Meeting on "Park Manor Inn Hotel Development on 76th State


        * Quinn must take lame duck tax vote off the table
        * Governor Quinn Announces Successful First Year of Affordable Care Act Enrollment - More than 685,000 People Now Have Access to Quality Health Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act
        * Liquor Control Commission September Underage Compliance Report
        * Rauner hits Quinn on tax hike timing
        * Taxpayer Red Alert: Quinn Doubles Down on Lame Duck Tax Hike




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