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AFSCME advances bill that Rauner admin says “we cannot afford”

Thursday, Feb 11, 2016

* SJ-R

Another attempt is being made in the General Assembly to send the stalled contract talks with the largest state employee union to arbitration.

The House Labor and Commerce Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would send the talks to binding arbitration while also prohibiting the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees from striking.

The legislation mirrors a bill passed by the General Assembly last year to do the same thing. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill and the House was not able to override the veto. […]

“We are in a unique situation here,” AFSCME deputy director Mike Newman said. “We’ve never heard a public employer boast that if there is a strike, we will win. I don’t know how anybody can define a strike by 10s of thousands of state employees as a victory.”

* Tribune

Sponsoring Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, said the bill marked a “major concession” by unions in giving up their right to strike, and he called on his colleagues to prevent a lockout and government shutdown.

Rauner has asked the Illinois Labor Relations Board to determine whether his administration and AFSCME have reached a stage in negotiations that would allow him to bypass further talks and impose his own terms on the roughly 38,000 state workers the union represents.

That review could take months, and Rauner and the union have agreed to keep workers on the job in the meantime. But if Rauner ultimately succeeds in putting a stop to the talks, the union will have to decide whether to go on strike for the first time. […]

In testimony to the committee, Mike Newman, deputy director of AFSCME Council 31, said a governor who has made weakening unions part of his agenda simply wants to force his terms without considering the pain and disruption a strike would cause.

Rep. Welch has a Democratic primary opponent who just received some funding from one of Dan Proft’s groups.

* The Rauner administration response…

Illinois Taxpayers Cannot Afford HB 580

HB580—a second bite at the failed attempt to pass SB1229 last Fall—should not become law. Simply put, our taxpayers cannot afford it.

Over the course of the last year, the State and certain labor unions have engaged in productive, good-faith negotiations. Indeed, the State has signed collective bargaining agreements with seventeen unions represented by, among others, the Teamsters, SEIU, the Laborers’ International Union, and the International Union of Operating Engineers. All seventeen agreed that tightening our belts now is the only responsible approach if we have any hope of avoiding cuts to essential services, massive employee layoffs, continued credit rating downgrades, and the further ballooning of our unfunded pension liabilities, bill backlog, and budget deficits. These unions offered to be a part of the solution.

Not AFSCME, which has continued to insist that the State somehow, somewhere find over $3 billion to give ASFCME employees more money while maintaining luxury health insurance coverage at garage-sale prices. So, after almost a year of unproductive negotiations, the State invoked a procedure to which AFSCME and the State thrice agreed, asking the Labor Board to determine whether the parties are at an impasse. Instead of lobbying for yet another version of the failed legislation from last Fall, AFSCME should defend its proposals before the Labor Board. This is what AFSCME has agreed to do in that very forum, on three separate occasions. If ASFCME believes its actions are reasonable, it should make its case to the Board.

But now that the matter is before the Labor Board, and AFSCME has to actually defend its proposals, AFSCME wants to rewrite the rules. Why is AFSCME afraid of the Labor Board process to which it previously agreed? Why does it want to replace that fair process with an all-or-nothing gamble at taxpayers’ expense that typifies labor arbitration in this State? Arbitrators may not fashion a middle ground that the State can actually afford. Instead, arbitrators must choose either the State’s or the union’s proposal wholesale. What AFSCME is hoping for is that AFSCME’s current proposal—over $3 billion in additional costs—is implemented. AFSCME could never defend such an unreasonable proposal at the negotiating table. And AFSCME is afraid it cannot defend it before the Labor Board. And thus the arbitration gamble becomes very attractive for AFSCME, no matter how unaffordable it is to our taxpayers.

Worse still, courts in Illinois have been recently upholding arbitration awards even in the absence of appropriations. The General Assembly would thus be bound by arbitration resulting from HB580, making balancing the State’s budget that much more difficult.

If HB580 becomes law, the General Assembly would effectively cede major financial decisions to unelected, unaccountable arbitrators. AFSCME is gambling for a big payday in arbitration. But it is the General Assembly that will have the difficult job of finding the money to pay for AFSCME’s jackpot, likely at the expense of cutting essential services in the State, imposing employee layoffs, or other drastic measures.

We cannot afford HB580.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


72 Comments
  1. - Austin Blvd - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:09 pm:

    Bruce, we can’t afford anything because WE DON’T HAVE A BUDGET.
    Sorry for yelling.


  2. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    “Why is AFSCME afraid of the Labor Board process to which it previously agreed?”

    Why are you so darn afraid of binding arbitration? I think we know the answer…


  3. - NixonHead - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:12 pm:

    This is not a concession at all. AFSCME is smart enough to know that if they do strike, they lose. They want their demands to be met by an arbitrator, not some one who was elected.


  4. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:14 pm:

    @NixonHead

    Since when are Labor Board members elected?


  5. - NixonHead - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:18 pm:

    Labor Board doesn’t award bargaining items to the union or management, arbitrators do. If striking is such a powerful tool of AFSCME, why would they concede it?


  6. - Mouthy - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:19 pm:

    Interesting. Could mean that a Republican House member or two has been picked off for an override vote after the primary..


  7. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    I know we’re supposed to be refocusing on tone and timbre but how I that be done in the face of such…such…I can’t even. I mean really…I am beside myself. My refutation is very simple. Think of what a strike would cost the state. Compare that to a fairly arbitrated (and probably crappy) contract. If it goes to the arbiter we’ll win some we’ll lose some. But it will be fair and it will preserve what is left of the state workforce. I just hope that we succeed in passing it and overriding the veto. This would be the time that ILGOP could represent their districts interests and reclaim their conservative heritage. PLEASE do not remain owned Raunerites. We HAVE to pay for our workforce. I don’t want to be forced to choose between a 6200$ increase ( for my family) in healthcare or Bronze level insurance, which by the way is the equivalent to Medicaid. It is base level Obamacare.

    Rauner wants more than anything to destroy HB580 because he knows that it will force a strike and that AFSMCE will be destroyed.

    What his hubris will not let him realize is that it will deathspiral our state and cause the collapse of our state workforce. It will take decades to get back. God help us if another recession happens in the interim. Look tell me the stock markets of the world aren’t going down. They are. Five times out of the past seven (if I remember right) the stock market has lost significant value before a recession. Go ahead roll the dice folks. Are you willing to bet it all that Rauner is right. Or would you prefer Labor peace, a stabilized workforce, pulling together with the Governor to get this state going again.


  8. - Small Town Girl - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:23 pm:

    Can anyone explain the difference between Amendment 1 and Amendment 2 of HB580?


  9. - Johnny Pyle Driver - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:25 pm:

    Is there any insight as to how an override would fare this time around? Seems like it would be pretty pointless to run this back through if nothing has changed. But then again, I thought the Speaker would have known how many votes he had the first time around


  10. - Omega Man - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:25 pm:

    All of the bargaining units that have settled with Rauner are small (around 5,000 members) versus the 32,000 who are in bargaining units who are still talking with Rauner. One interesting fact is that the small bargaining units all have “me too” clauses built into their contracts. In other words, if AFSCME gets a better deal, they get it too! Looks like they are betting on AFSCME!


  11. - Jay - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:28 pm:

    I’m a taxpayer and I can afford it. What I can’t afford is Rauner giving tax breaks to the rich and big business and expecting me to pay for what you won’t tax them. Stop trying to act like you care about tax payers to push your special interest agenda.


  12. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:31 pm:

    JPD:

    I was told by my AFSCME rep. that “several” Republican legislators told AFSCME they were “with them” on SB1229 but that Rauner had assured them he would bargain with AFSCME in good faith. AFSCME believes now that they see Rauner failed to do so they will cross the aisle and support an override.


  13. - Athens - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:41 pm:

    Cubs in 16
    With respect to your last comment and your Cap Fax name:
    Keep dreaming.


  14. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:42 pm:

    –We cannot afford HB580.–

    A “fiscal responsibility” argument? From this crew?

    According to the comptroller, by June 30, the state’s backlog of bills will have increased from $4.3 billion when Rauner took office to as much as $12 billion.

    Geez, the Frat Boys must have split a gut putting that one out.


  15. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:43 pm:

    I have more faith in my nickname than I do the information from my union rep. ;)


  16. - Mason born - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:49 pm:

    To me the fate of this will depend on the primary results. If Rauner comes off as all show no go why not support you district. For that matter if your primaried what does it matter what the gov does.


  17. - HangingOn - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    The only way you would be against something that helps insure bargaining in good faith is if you do not plan on bargaining in good faith.


  18. - 13th ward - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:55 pm:

    AFSCME isn’t giving up the right to strike because they won’t strike; if they tried the leaders know many (or most) employees will not walk out or be court ordered (prisons) to work. Giving up a failed strike is giving up nothing.


  19. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:57 pm:

    So AFSCME and the State agreed THREE times on a procedure to declare (or not declare) an impasse in negotiations, and now they again want to change the rules and go back on their word?

    Wow! On a winner take all proposition with an Arbitrator not having the right to split the pie where he/she thinks it appropriate?

    Double Wow!

    On another thread I posted my late father’s favorite saying to any monetary request when we were kids: “Do you think money grows on trees?”

    AFSCME would answer “yes” to that one.


  20. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    “13th ward Feb 11, 16 @ 2:55 pm:”

    You wish ck


  21. - Phenomynous - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:04 pm:

    AFCSME is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game, and then shaming people for not going along. You have a recourse if you can’t find a solution on a contract, it’s called a strike. If you don’t want to strike, then get back to the bargaining table and make some serious concessions. You are going to lose some established benefits because the state is broke and you have unfriendly management.

    After you take your medicine, then maybe you will do a better job in the next gubernatorial. Additionally, I haven’t done the math on what you take in in union dues, but your lack of a strike fund is disturbing.


  22. - Small Town Girl - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:08 pm:

    I would imagine that AFSCME IS defending its position with the Labor Board as the Governor suggests. Nothing says that if the labor board declares that there is no impasse that when the two sides come back to the table an agreement can be reached. Am I wrong to think that if this is left to an arbitrator, the union busting poison pills will have to be removed from the budget discussion and it will remove a hurdle?


  23. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:10 pm:

    == What his hubris will not let him realize is that it will deathspiral our state and cause the collapse of our state workforce. ==

    Rauner realizes it.


  24. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:12 pm:

    == Seems like it would be pretty pointless to run this back through ==

    Depends on what point you are trying to make …


  25. - cailleach - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:13 pm:

    Experts, we’ve been through this before, but give it to me again just to be clear: what would an arbitrator do? Would he/she come to an all-or-nothing decision for one party or would he/she wade through the offers and decide compromises? What if both parties cannot/will not agree on the choice of arbitrator?


  26. - Ghost - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:13 pm:

    we already have this law for people like police and corrections officers. we havent gone broke from it yet.

    perhaps a quick explanation would help explain why this is not a huge problem. At interest arb an arbitrator or panel selected by the parties picks from the two proposals on the table. each side explains why their proposal is fair. if you look up prior decisions they have picked employer offers of no wages increases, or small raises etc with municipalities and cities. The gov keeps saying how fair his offer is, and sends out emails on it all the time. If so interest arb is the ultimate vindication, because they pick the fairest offer, AND the arbitrator is either agreed to, or each party picks one and the two pick a third they agree on.

    basically the gov saying we can afford this is tantamount to saying his offer is unfair. on a side note, the govs offer is t horrible. if he dropped some of the crazy from it he might reach an actual agreement.

    suggestion for gov, do nonbinding arb…. let a neutral third party weigh and comment and try to bring everyone together. perhaps a disinterested person could bring you all together


  27. - State Engineer - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:19 pm:

    A point to remember it isn’t AFSCME that walked away from the Negotiating table that was the Governor. AFSCME is still offering to negotiate while the Governor is claiming Impasse. The individual who is claiming my way or the highway is not the Union in this case, AFSCME has made concessions and made more on the day the Gov. declared impasse. I may not be AFSCME’s biggest fan but it is the governor who is betraying the commitment he made in August to continue to negotiate to reach an agreement without a strike or lockout.

    The one changing the Rules sleeps in the Governors Mansion.

    You would think someone who reads this blog would be a tad bit more informed of the reality of the situation.


  28. - Earnest - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:23 pm:

    Good thing to vote on just before a primary. Let’s people see where their representatives stand and vote accordingly, whether on one side or another.


  29. - Trolling Troll - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    I believe that if afscme does strike the Governer will be the loser. For obvious reasons. If he wasn’t scared of a strike, why the goofy phone poll scam?
    There is no way he or his cohorts could mobilize enough workers to do that much work.
    On top of that, didn’t he promise to not force a strike if the GOPs voted present for 1229?


  30. - Papa2008 - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    I don’t believe Rauner wants to break the union. I won’t presume to know what he wants. But if he wanted to break the union all he would have to do is propose a contract that gives AFSCME everything they want except dues check off. The members would overwhelmingly approve it and AFSCME would go broke. Very few would voluntarily send in their union dues. His goal is something else.


  31. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:32 pm:

    - State Engineer - +1


  32. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:36 pm:

    @StateEngineer

    Without being in the room, I don’t see how you can make the assertion that one side isn’t negotiating while the other side is. From my limited perspective, neither side appears to be negotiating at this point. Hopefully I’m wrong, but the threats of impasse along with the this latest action in the House suggests otherwise.


  33. - Union Man - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:37 pm:

    There isn’t anyone I work with except 5 fair share participants who won’t strike. If state employees go along with Rauner they get their head chopped off, if they go on strike, they lose a leg. Now which would you rather lose?


  34. - Captain Illini - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:39 pm:

    Negotiating with a megalomaniac is not negotiating at all…I’d be for this bill if it were a Dem in the gov’s seat right now expressing the same insane logic and vitriol.


  35. - State Engineer - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:44 pm:

    Chicagonk

    Ok look back through the archives it’s pretty simple. The governor at the end of the last bargaining session declared impasse then said he didn’t then did so less than a week later. AFSCME the entire time has stated they are not at impasse and requested the Administration to suggest a date and time for negotiations.

    Those are irrefutable facts as reported by one Rich Miller.

    Now the Governors statement of why he declared impasse is because he doesn’t feel AFSCME has moved close enough to his position therefore further negotiations are pointless. Again Fact.

    As most of us knows the reason for negotiations is to find a position both parties can handle does it sound like that’s Rauners goal?


  36. - Crazy Horse - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:48 pm:

    ==to unelected, unaccountable arbitrators==

    I’m not an AFSCME member but this rhetoric is what I hate most from Rauner & the Superstars. You are either one of Rauner’s superstars or you are corrupt and unaccountable. He truly believes that no one outside of his inner circle actually earns an honest wage. It’s a sickness.


  37. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:51 pm:

    AFSCME saying that they are negotiating is not the same thing as actually negotiating. Same goes for Rauner. The proof is in the pudding.


  38. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    Allow me to attempt to offer a comparable private sector comparison. Say you’ve worked at company X for 25 years. Your boss comes up to you and says, “Times are tough. The company just can’t afford to continue providing the luxury health insurance we have been. So, you get to choose to pay 100% more for your premiums or keep your current premiums but pay 2X-4X more for your deductibles and copays. And, since you’re overpaid anyway, there won’t be any raises for the next four years. Now, for the kicker, if I find someone I can contract with to do your job cheaper you’re SOL. Yes, I know your office mate has only been with the company 6 years but they’re cheaper to keep so…too bad so sad. Sign here.”


  39. - afscmemember - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:58 pm:

    As a member I would give up raises and steps for the length of the contract and a small increase in Healthcare costs. Also don’t mind the 40 hour work week - should be that anyway.


  40. - State Engineer - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:01 pm:

    Chicagonk

    Ok then by that logic isn’t it reasonable to bring in an independent third party to ensure that negotiations happen??


  41. - NixonHead - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:11 pm:

    @Ghost - talk to any municipal manager/administrator or finance director about how “fair” negotiations are with police and firefighters. Binding arbitration is crushing municipalities.


  42. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:21 pm:

    Cubs, Durkin made opposition to SB 1229 a caucus position. He’ll do it again. No GOP member will violate it.


  43. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    State Engineer has it right. AFSCME offered a contract concession (albeit a small one) on the very last meeting after which the Governor declared an impasse. As long as either side is offering a concession, even a small one, you do not have an impasse. AFSCME had a long negotiating process previously with the Quinn Administration. Neither side declared an impasse. Eventually they reached an agreement. The other difference here is a Governor who has stated that he wants Unions to go away. BTW I do not work for the state but I do not want to see a strike, too many will suffer. Declaring an impasse when progress is still being made is reckless behavior in my judgment.


  44. - Generation X - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:28 pm:

    -AFCSME is trying to change the rules in the middle of the game, and then shaming people for not going along. You have a recourse if you can’t find a solution on a contract, it’s called a strike. If you don’t want to strike, then get back to the bargaining table and make some serious concessions. You are going to lose some established benefits because the state is broke and you have unfriendly management.-

    A strike would crush this already fragile State. The point isn’t that AFSCME doesn’t have options , it’s that the Governor desperately wants it to force it.

    The chaos that a strike would cause, would be felt for decades. This State is ready to tip currently. A strike of the State work force must be avoided


  45. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:28 pm:

    “- afscmemember - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 3:58 pm:

    As a member I would give up raises and steps for the length of the contract and a small increase in Healthcare costs. Also don’t mind the 40 hour work week”

    I do not believe you or you are at the top of the steps.


  46. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:32 pm:

    “Cubs, Durkin made opposition to SB 1229 a caucus position. He’ll do it again. No GOP member will violate it.”

    So then there really is no point to HB580? Or is it simply to back certain R’s (and D’s) into a corner?


  47. - AC - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:33 pm:

    Has the administration offered an explanation for why were willing to increase the state health insurance contributions for the other unions they cite as an example of their reasonableness, while not providing the same offer to AFSCME? They aren’t “apples and platypuses” if some of those other unions currently have employees in the CMS group insurance plan. What about the limited modifications these other unions made to their contract language, when compared with the large portions of the contact the administration wants to modify in the AFSCME contract? An arbitrator would bring the two sides together and help ensure that AFSCME gets the same deal that other unions received.


  48. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:40 pm:

    === So then there really is no point to HB580? Or is it simply to back certain R’s (and D’s) into a corner? ===

    Yes. Probably. I don’t see the point in forcing another vote to record a 2nd roll call. First one should be sufficient for campaign purposes.


  49. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:46 pm:

    Only if Rauner would use his energy to vget a budget passed. His legacy will be the only Governor to Not pass a budget in his four years.


  50. - Independent retiree/lawyer/journalist - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:51 pm:

    It is Rauner’s position on this that confirms for the independents that he is trying to destroy AFSCME. If he doesn’t like the form of arbitration that’s proposed, why not just do an amended veto to, for example, say it has to be a panel of three arbitrators? Point is, there’s more than one way to have binding arbitration. And what’s not to like about avoiding a strike…unless you have a barely-hidden agenda, Governor. Last, you’re afraid of binding arbitration, but not afraid of what the Labor board will do? Gee, I wonder why you’re not afraid of the Labor board…


  51. - Phenomynous - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 4:52 pm:

    Gen X - then the Governor can take the blame. In case you aren’t reminded daily: “Governor’s Own”

    In my opinion, AFSCME leadership is scared that people will cross the picket line if a strike is called…


  52. - Small Town Girl - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 5:06 pm:

    Anonymous @ 4:28 - believe afscmemember. I, too, would agree to no raises, small increase and the 40 hour week. So would most, if not all of my Co workers. And no, I’m not topped out.


  53. - BBG - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 5:18 pm:

    I would also agree to no raise, small increase in health care and 40 hours. Why won’t the governor sit down and compromise? Everyone knows the state is in trouble. Concessions can be made. Just don’t kill us with the TA.


  54. - Idontgetit - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 5:35 pm:

    If the administration is worried about a contract the state cannot afford offer everything agreed upon by state and union to this point. There is nothing stopping both sides from continuing to negotiation except refusal by on side or other. Take out the subcontracting language and layoff language added in the last best offer(they go hand and hand) and keep same contract. This way administration is happy pension costs don’t go up and it is a 3yr wage freeze and union is happy as layoff language and insurance stay the same. Call me crazy but that is a win win that most people could live with and is a more realistic comparison to the other contracts agreed upon by other groups. It also cuts out the general assembly from passing a bill that the administration thinks the state cannot afford. Just a thought.


  55. - Illinois Concerned Citizen - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 5:37 pm:

    What we cannot afford is to keep giving handouts to those that do not work and just sponge off of the taxpayers. The state workers are “workers” and are taxpayers as well. Cut the entitlements and force those to get jobs and work too!!!!


  56. - AC - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 5:47 pm:

    My most boring posts never make it, but my complaints about the posts that never make it always get posted. Very strange.

    In any case, it doesn’t matter what anyone might be willing to accept. Without an arbitration bill, or some miracle, none of that is an option.


  57. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 5:55 pm:

    Afscme going to the same old playbook. Not going to end much differently. Same leadership same routine.


  58. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 6:16 pm:

    To those of you appearing to say you would take the Governor’s offer, you really should look at the actual contract in totality, not just the usual economic terms like wages and healthcare. There are many poison things in that “contract,” and I fear you are missing the big picture. For example, the elimination of job security in the subcontracting article coupled to strategic changes in the layoff article… come out of the forest so you can see the trees for a moment. Your frozen salary and doubled healthcare will be a treat compared to when you train your replacement and are let go in favor of his proposed “managed competition,” by then it’s too bad so sad. The Governor is banking on you stomaching the direct financials (out of fear) while you ignore the larger indirect game of outsourcing.


  59. - Paceman - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 6:19 pm:

    It would be good to have arbitration in your back pocket should you need it. I don’t see how the labor board can declare an impasse when the Governor is still negotiating albeit bypassing AFSME and appealing directly to the employees (CMS email). AFSME should be filing an unfair labor practice for that breach of the contract. AFSME is the sole representative of their members and the Governor has no business making contact with them in the manner he did.


  60. - Omega Man - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 6:44 pm:

    Fellow State Workers, if the Governor is able to destroy job security, the rest of the contract issues won’t matter because both union and nonunion workers will eventually lose jobs that provide good paychecks and decent medical insurance. All state work will then be done by low-skilled, low-paid, part-time, no-benefit contractors, with the real money going to “The Bruce” and his rich pals.

    Retirees, if AFSCME loses this battle, at the very least, your copays/deductibles will increase at greater rate each year. This will end up creating a growing underclass of “have not” retirees who will be all too ready to see you dragged back down to their benefit level when they vote.

    Please remember, AFSCME will avoid a strike if at all possible, but when a strike is finally forced upon us, we will need all the help that we can get, so retirees will be more than welcome to join union state workers on the picket line!

    In the meantime, all state workers and retirees should send messages to their State Senators and Representatives to start showing some backbone on these issues! Ignore the Governor, pass common sense laws and override any vetoes!


  61. - AC - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 7:17 pm:

    Omega Man gets it. Adding: those who think this is about costs needs to ask themselves why the administration wanted to remove the section of the contact requiring a cost comparison be done before outsourcing work done by state employees.


  62. - Omega Man - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 7:43 pm:

    Just to clarify what I said before about a growing underclass of “have not” retirees.

    The Governor’s “deal” has a provision that allows current employees to keep their current health benefits without paying anything extra for it, IF THEY MAKE THE IRREVOCABLE DECISION TO GIVE UP ALL STATE-PAID HEALTH INSURANCE IN RETIREMENT. Many workers will likely take this option to keep their health benefit affordable.

    How do you think these people will vote when Rauner gives them the chance to vote on measures ELIMINATING YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE?


  63. - Omega Man - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 7:57 pm:

    Like I said earlier, Retirees will be more than welcome to join us on the picket lines.

    If you are still a fair-share “fee payer” I’m just about out of things to say to you, except “YOU’D HAVE TO BE INSANE TO CROSS THE PICKET LINE BECAUSE A YEAR FROM NOW RAUNER WILL BE DONE WITH YOU AND YOU’LL BE OUT OF A JOB”.


  64. - Mason Born - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 8:09 pm:

    Rauners worst enemy isn’t AFSCME or MJM. Rauners worst enemy is the guy he sees in the mirror when he shaves.

    His stated goal has been to reduce the influence of public sector unions yet through his actions he’s created the opposite effect. AFSCaMy remember? So to do so he refuses to pay fair share dues. Well because of his tactics he has reduced fair share dues now most of those fair share members are full members. His refusal to negotiate has taken a union most members were luke warm or worse about and turned it into a key part of their life. Ironically at the moment the Supreme Court may strike down fair share the most likely result in IL is an increased % of full paying members. At a time when hard but fair negotiations could have won pay freezes, health care concessions, and an end to the 37.5 hr work week all of which Rauner could have claimed was a major victory. What does he have to show for it a steaming pile of nothing.

    The same can be said about the budget where Rauenr could have Negotiated hard for his priorities he instead took hostages and killed any trust he had earned through his election. The end result the State is worse today then it was when Rauner took office. What does he have to show for it? Another steaming pile of Nothing.

    Congratulations Gov you’ve done the impossible you’ve managed to make Pat Quinn look Competent.


  65. - AC - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 8:28 pm:

    I’d even take it a step beyond Quinn, and say Rauner makes Blago look competent by comparison, and that’s an accomplishment.


  66. - Omega Man - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 8:32 pm:

    @ Mason Born

    You’ve described my situation well. I’ve been a full-pay Union member my entire time as a state employee, but most years I wondered what the union was really for since labor and management seemed to always work things out.

    Those days are history.

    Quinn gave us a wake up call last time when we came within one day of a strike authorization vote.

    Rauner is the real deal. He’s out to totally wipe organized labor off the map. We will have to stand up to him or die trying.

    I just thought of another way this “deal” will hurt the Retirees. Once it’s rammed down our throats and becomes official, Retirees, from that point on will have no state-paid dependent Heath coverage. Anyone with a spouse that does not have their own coverage will be affected.

    As soon as people fall into this “have not” area (even if they are not yet retired) they will have a much easier time voting for measures (I.e. laws and constitutional amendments) that will remove such benefits from the earlier Retirees.


  67. - Mason born - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 8:47 pm:

    Omega

    I was doc security during the blago/JBT election. I went fairshare when the National AFSCME endorsed Blago. Refused upward mobility when I went back to school so I could get out of the state employ once and for all. I feel for you brother.


  68. - Idontgetit - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 8:48 pm:

    @omega i am the same as you. Not sure why you think I was a non or fair share member. Also not sure if you were referring to me or someone else. I have been a full member my entire time at the state.


  69. - Claude Peppercorn - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 9:16 pm:

    Let’s be honest here, this bill has no chance of passing and there is no way it will be overridden when vetoed. And when it comes time to vote on a strike, remember that the Governor hasn’t moved on the budget in several months, and it won’t be any different if a strike is called.


  70. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 10:27 pm:

    “- Claude Peppercorn - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 9:16 pm:”

    What is your point?

    I will vote yes for a strike.


  71. - enough already - Thursday, Feb 11, 16 @ 10:33 pm:

    How much longer do we allow this insanity to continue? Social services obliterated, the most vulnerable left with no help, colleges threatened with loosing their accreditation or closing, jobs lost, billions more added to the unpaid backlog of bills, etc..you get the picture. All created out of a blinding obsession to destroy unions no matter who gets destroyed along the way. We are past the point of ridiculous. We may have been in bad shape before, but this Governor has created chaos to advance his billionaire buddies agenda. He has got to go while there is still a State left to save.


  72. - slappynutz - Friday, Feb 12, 16 @ 7:41 am:

    Rauner has lied from one. When he claimed to have talk to Madigan and Cullerton on the phone. They both stated Rauner lied. He stated yesterday that his turn around agenda is what he is fighting for and not the budget.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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