* We’ve all seen how the governor and the unions have portrayed the AFSCME “no strike” bill. But here’s a take from a Tier One targeted Senate Democrat that I thought you might be interested in…
Forby: AFSCME contract negotiations shouldn’t be politicized
The fight for employee equality advanced today when the Illinois Senate voted on two critical measures that ensure working families are given fair wages and benefits. The first measure Senate Bill 1229, which was overridden by the governor, aims to bar the American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees from striking or being locked out while a collective bargaining agreement is negotiated.
The union’s collective barging contract expired on July 1st. The Governor’s office and the state largest labor union AFSCME have yet to reach an agreement.
State Senator Gary Forby (D- Benton), who serves as the Senate’s Labor Committee Chairman, thinks the measure takes bureaucracy out of the negotiations, which will create a platform for non-politicized negotiations.
“Since Governor Rauner began his term, he has waged an all-out war against organized labor and working families,” said Forby. “It’s clear the Governor doesn’t want fair negotiations, so if we take the bureaucracy out of the negotiation process, then it gives us a clearer path to reach an agreement.”
* And from the debate…
“There is an unusual degree of hyperbole and hypocrisy about this bill,” said Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park. “It does not require arbitration. Both sides can stay at the bargaining table.”
Harmon said similar arbitration has been in place for years for police, firefighters and prison guards, who are not allowed to go on strike. He said AFSCME has never invoked the arbitration provision for prison guards the union represents. […]
Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, is a former director of the Peoria Area Labor Management Council. He said the arbitration bill will actually bring the two sides closer.
“If your proposal is out of line, it has a chance of being thrown out,” he said. “It forces people to the middle.”
Cullerton said current law gives the governor “a real strong position to just impose a draconian plan” that would leave unions with no choice but to strike.
“If we have a strike, then we have trauma,” Cullerton said. “We’re not suggesting the governor can’t continue to negotiate with them, this just makes sure there is no strike.”
* Murph, however, gets the last word…
Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, said union leaders are fighting for pay and benefits, but those employees are making 80 percent more than they did 10 years ago. “Go home any of you and talk to your taxpayers about that,” he said.
“This is wrong to take the people’s one elected person out of the negotiation room and say we’re going to go to this arbitrator,” Murphy said.
“Do not override this veto,” he warned before the Senate voted.
Watch the floor debate by clicking here. The roll call is here.