Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED - Quinn to appeal decision *** Judge halts Quinn “layoff” plan
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*** UPDATED - Quinn to appeal decision *** Judge halts Quinn “layoff” plan

Monday, Sep 28, 2009

*** UPDATE *** Gov. Quinn will appeal the judge’s ruling in favor of AFSCME. From a press release…

The State of Illinois will be appealing today’s ruling.

Illinois is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis and budget reductions must be made, including cuts to the State’s administrative and personnel costs. Our plan includes responsible layoffs that do not jeopardize public safety.

We have carefully followed every step required in the AFSCME contract throughout this process, including executing our ability to make layoffs. In addition, the State provided AFSCME with an alternative solution that included furlough days and wage freezes to minimize employee layoffs. Unfortunately AFSCME was not willing to negotiate, so we were forced to move ahead with the layoffs.

We will be appealing today’s court decision on the basis that our plan is responsible and legally sound. We are asking that the court not intervene as we work to save the State from this financial emergency.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* Johnson County Judge Todd Lambert has stopped Gov. Quinn’s planned layoffs for now

Lambert put in place a preliminary injunction stopping the layoffs until both sides can work out their differences through arbitration or another kind of agreement. Lambert determined AFSCME’s complaints “are not frivolous and reflect a genuine dispute between the parties.”

“The risk to the employees targeted for layoff or laid off fair outweighs any damages or other harm the state may suffer by having to delay the layoffs pending arbitration of the pending grievances,” Lambert wrote in his four-page order.

The union was trying to block layoffs of more than 500 workers scheduled for Wednesday by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. That was out of more than 2,600 layoffs Quinn planned for the full year, facing deep budget problems.

* But is the layoff plan really a layoff plan? Kurt Erickson takes a look at what the Quinn administration said in court last week…

Five low-security prisons - Vienna, East Moline, Vandalia, Logan and Decatur - will lose both guards and inmates, the latter leaving via a controversial early release program designed to put non-violent offenders back on the streets.

Guards targeted for layoffs will be given the opportunity to move to other prisons where there are vacancies. Special attention will be paid to prisons with high overtime costs, such as the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center in Chester.

In addition, a few hundred new correctional officers - some of whom just finished their cadet training classes in Springfield - will be dispatched to prisons with high vacancy and overtime rates.

The plan, if implemented, will cut overtime costs from $68 million to about $36 million, the official said.

Although the administration contends the governor’s layoff plan won’t necessarily result in any current prison workers losing their jobs, they do admit it will force some of the guards to have to move to be closer to their new jobs.

* Meanwhile, Gov. Pat Quinn resorted to Blagojevich talking points over the weekend…

Governor Pat Quinn joined students and educators Friday to support restoring scholarships called the Illinois Monetary Assistance Program Grants.

There have been cuts in the grants because of the state’s budget crisis.

“It was a tough budget year and the General Assembly decided to only fund the first semester of college scholarships. That’s not acceptable, we have two semesters here,” Quinn said.

As I explained to subscribers this morning, Quinn fully shares the blame for this particular cut. Putting it off on the GA is cowardly and just plain wrong. He also issued a Blagojevichian threat

Quinn said the [MAP grant] issue will be addressed when the General Assembly returns for the veto session in October. […]

“We’ll keep calling special sessions if we have to,” Quinn said.

* Related…

* Treating the mentally ill in Illinois prisons

* Retirees opting out of state dental insurance

* Budget issues force probation officers to play waiting game

* McCarter, Flider decry prison cuts

* Online Casino Patrons Confused by Legal Illinois Internet Gaming

* Fairmount gets 52 dates for next season, bets on Internet gambling to boost wagering

* MAP quest

* Much support, little funding for college MAP grants

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:06 am:

    It was the only legal choice that could be made at this time. There are dozens of ways to address our state’s financial fiasco without breaking contracts to the few state workers left in Illinois.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:10 am:

    Looks like AFSCME picked the right judge. Either that, or the Quinn folks went about it all the wrong way.

    I mean, if you’re $10 billion in the hole, you gotta be able to fire people.

  3. - Cassandra - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:15 am:

    So, this lawsuit is not really about layoffs, it’s about protecting workers who don’t want to change assignments within the state prison system?

    Or is that only 500 of the 2600 “layoffs.” It’s very confusing.

    I still think this is a Quinn/Afscme shadow dance especially since he has made no move to cut the non-union ranks, which could certainly use thinning, especially since Quinn is now hiring his own hacks at a nice rate. The idea is to give taxpayers the impression that the state will collapse if we don’t pony up billions for the Dems to play with via a tax increase in the spring. And Quinn can’t lay anybody off because the union and the courts won’t let him, so it’s not his fault. The governor as victim approach.

  4. - Reality is - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:30 am:

    I believe the ruling isnt that the state can’t lay folks off. It’s that it has to be done in accordance with the contract. This includes letting contractual employees go first, negotiating the safety issues that will result, etc. The state was trying to bypass the contract and they new it.

    The judge is basically saying to negotiate according to the contract. Sounds reasonable.

  5. - RJW - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:32 am:

    More crap from Cassandra’s keyboard. I’m not defending the Governor b/c I think he has pretty much failed in doing the job. But, you can’t lay this judge’s decision at Quinn’s feet. It’s not his fault that the union was able to find an idiot judge to buy into their argument.

    And, VanillaMan, If you have so many solutions to fix a $12 BILLION HOLE IN THE BUDGET let’s hear them. Everybody thinks they have a solution but none of their solutions really include ALL the hard decisions. Also, I’m not sure how you can believe that the state is violating the union contract. Last time I checked management had a right to MANAGE its employees, including layoffs. Nobody likes it, but it really annoys me that the union apparently believes that they need to approve any decision made by the state.

  6. - Cassandra - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:35 am:

    Well, if correct, then I guess we have the governor as incompetent approach. Doesn’t he have anybody in CMS who can read and correctly interpret a union contract. Oh wait, aren’t they all political appointees? So, why would they bother learning. They have lifetime jobs already. No accountability there.

  7. - Screwball - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:56 am:

    My recollection of the 13 or so Republican gubernatorial candidates’ plans for balancing the state budget was to cut spending through magic beans, pixie dust and laying off state workers. Looks like their plans have been reduced to magic beans and pixie dust.

    Oh, and McKenna.

  8. - Louis Howe - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:00 am:

    “Reality is”…”The state was trying to bypass the contract…”…Please stop it….ASFCME sought out a small southern Illinos county judge that mosly handles speeding tickets and petty theft to rule in their favor.

  9. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:01 am:

    Yeah, Reality is correct in that there is a process and the state has chosen to ignore it. But Cassandra, ya can’t call just Quinn incompetent here. Been here before. You will remember last year under Rod when lay-offs were to happen that it was a real rough start and repeated and repeated and one of the sticking points even then was the state did not bother to follow contract, did not bother to impact bargain prior to attempt blah blah.

    And wordslinger, yes, people can be laid off. The issue here is who and how. And actually if the goal is to shift workers around, what happened to geographical transfer attempts? Why go backwards and screw it all and just cut right to layoff notices? Is the paper the state negotiated , bargained in ‘good faith’ and signed worth nothing?

  10. - Cindy Lou - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:09 am:

    Louis –”…”…Please stop it….ASFCME sought out a small southern Illinos county judge that mosly handles speeding tickets and petty theft to rule in their favor”.

    Louis, if the state wants to properly lay off people, there is nothing AFSCME can do about it. Method.

  11. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:11 am:

    Have we leapt the shark and fallen into the European model where workers can never be laid off?

    Has the judge enlightened us as to how the salaries and benefits are to be funded?

    Every contract has a procedure for laying off the workers it protects. Lets follow the procedures and move on.

  12. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    OK - enough judge bashing. He didn’t cause this fiscal crisis, and he isn’t expected to solve it. Let’s look at the right guy now, the Governor.

    Illinois is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis and budget reductions must be made, including cuts to the State’s administrative and personnel costs. Our plan includes responsible layoffs that do not jeopardize public safety. So, what were the cuts made in the Executive offices? Seems we missed those. Before you ask to terminate contractural state workers, you did cut the huge bureaucratic overhead put into place when Blagojevich came on board, right? What are the reasons your Office decided to stop negociations? Have you taken this situation to arbitration?

    Unfortunately AFSCME was not willing to negotiate, so we were forced to move ahead with the layoffs. On what did you base that supposed unwillingness? What did the arbitrators find?

    We will be appealing today’s court decision on the basis that our plan is responsible and legally sound. Your plan is as legally sound as AFSCME’s. As to responsible, unless you can show that other steps were taken before you terminated negociations with the union, you cannot make that claim. Right now it looks like you just do not wish to negociate with the union.

    We are asking that the court not intervene as we work to save the State from this financial emergency. Can’t do that. Most court proceeding are based on one party believing their actions are justified due to an emergency. We cannot depend upon one party’s definition as justification to terminate contractual negociations. That is why there are negociations. The Governor Office’s unwillingness to negociate doesn’t override contractural rights, regardless of how the Office wishes to define “emergency”.

  13. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:28 am:

    From what I’m reading, if these were layoffs (which are temporary in nature) due to economic reasons, then the State would have prevailed. But these “layoffs” sound like permanent terminations, which requires certain procedures specified in the union contract.

    So the judge was probably right to issue a temporary restraining order.

  14. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:30 am:

    European model where workers can never be laid off?

    There is no such model. What we have however are court cases that clearly demonstrate that as an American, you have a right to serve America as a public servant. We have procedures in place that if followed, ensure that Americans are given their rights as citizens and governments can make changes. It isn’t either/or.

    What we have seen are governments led by people who do not understand this process. So instead of handling the situation correctly, try to do what got them into office by politicizing, in this case, personnel changes or layoffs.

    No one, even in some mythical European government, believes that public servants shouldn’t be fired or that changes shouldn’t be made. What we are doing is ensuring a balance between your rights as a citizen with your rights as a taxpayer. For over 233 years, we have handled these situations rather well, and there are no reasons, even including state bankrupsy, where we need to screw this up. Sorry, but these things take time when one party, usually the political ones, refuse to do their work, dragging the entire process out.

  15. - RJW - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:45 am:


    For once on this site stop being a know-it-all. Especially since you don’t know anything. The state has tried to negotiate with AFSCME (I personally know). AFSCME refused to discuss anything. You cannot negotiate with a wall. The state appropriately decided negotiations had been attempted in good faith and moved on in the process. And, for those of you commenting on the contract being violated, I suggest you read it. I’ve got a copy right in front of me.

  16. - Will County Woman - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:47 am:

    As governor, Quinn should have never let this reach the court level. He should have handled this matter better with AFSCME. Because this is now a court matter, Quinn again is not exhibiting good leadership. This all stems from his March 18th budget and its aftermath. This is ridiculous!

  17. - chiatty - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 12:33 pm:

    Another blemish on the pockmarked Quinn resume…

  18. - Tired of the mess... - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 1:05 pm:

    I only wish the judge had added, “if this administration was serious about fiscal responsibility, efforts to streamline costs and obvious cutbacks to politically connected entities would be obvious. At this time, a good faith effort has not been made to do either.”
    I am not opposed to staff cuts, but I think that this is foolish that our elected officials have not made any sacrifices that would effect their staffing or their districts (statues, ball diamond lihts, etc).

  19. - Ayn - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 1:06 pm:

    Let face it - Henry Bayer runs this state.

  20. - wapak - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 1:11 pm:

    This is all about the process and the Gov. failing to follow the procedure laid out in the contrac with respect to layoffs. SOP for CMS in that regard. Contract? What contract? We don’t need no stinkin’ contract.

  21. - Bill O Rights - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 2:32 pm:

    Non Union employees are already being laid off for 12 days that equals about a 5% pay cut. While at the same time the state is hiring temporary help, new employees and contractural employees. I dont blame the union and I support the judges decision. The state is really upside down.

  22. - George Stevens - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 2:33 pm:

    Cassandra - Boy, you sure know a lot about “everything.” “All” people in CMS are political appointees? Really? Where’s your proof?

    I know at least 15 CMS non-political workers who have moved up the ranks since the days of Thompson, but because they are MCs (two raises in seven years) are making 35K - 55K after 15 to 20 years. This year: no pay raise, no step or time increase, 12 furlough days, threats of consolidation, etc.

    Are there political hacks at CMS and other state agencies? Plenty at the top, but not at this level. I’m much more concerned about ceaseless union protection of underemployed “front-line workers” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) that is unlikely to be addressed in this state so long as polititions pander to greedy organizations like ASFCME and SEIU.

  23. - Rexford Tugwell - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 2:34 pm:

    Good for Gov. Quinn….A legal appeal is the proper action for taxpayers and demonstrates Quinn’s leadership on a tough issue.
    The actual layoffs (i.e. discharges from state employment) for DOC are less than 100, with the primary savings coming from reducing overtime by moving personnel from over staffed facilities to those needing additional headcount.

  24. - Retired State Employee - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 2:49 pm:

    Again, the discussion swirls around a tiny amount of money when the problem is BIG bucks. It does no good to discuss this one way or the other, because it doesn’t matter! With or without the layoffs the state has a big problem and this won’t solve it nor will saving $10 million on retiree dental payments. It does serve its purpose to get people fire up about state employees which is strictly a political move, NOT a fiscal move. There should be outcry about the unbalanced budget and the deficit. The governor and general assembly has failed the public and given them crumbs to argue over.

  25. - Okay Then... - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 3:55 pm:

    Yup. legal wrangling, at taxpayer expense and being caught in the mire, when his state is in fiscal crisis, is always good for a sitting governor. LMAO.

  26. - moby - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 4:09 pm:

    In Mike Lawrence’s piece on treating the Mentally ill in Illinois prisons, he says about Tamms supermax that it is “‘an operation that has enhanced the security of employees and inmates…” Please allow me a comment:

    There are reasons for maintaining a supermax: Corrections staff morale, jobs in a poor county, slaking the thirst for vengeance, and keeping Republicans happy, but the safety of staff and inmates is not one of them. National studies have shown no deterrent effect from supermax prisons. One study indicates they tend to increase recidivism among those that have been inside them. The fact is that rates of violence in IDOC prisons dropped dramatically two years BEFORE the opening of Tamms. It briefly rose again AFTER Tamms opened, and then declined again, JUST AS CRIME RATES DID EVERYWHERE IN THE US. You might as well say that the election of George W. Bush in 2000 lowered the rate of violence in Illinois prisons (not)! So let’s go about the business of reform with a clear head: keep Tamms open if the politics requires it, but don’t try to justify it on the grounds of safety and security. Make the necessary, wholesale reforms and acknowledge the obvious: people with serious mental illness do not belong in solitary confinement, ever. In addition, the mentally ill require treatment in hospitals or half-way houses, not long-term incarceration in prisons. Treatment is more humane, and cheaper than the alternative!

  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 4:12 pm:

    –What we have however are court cases that clearly demonstrate that as an American, you have a right to serve America as a public servant.–

    Really? I didn’t know we’d come this far.

    Where do the 10% officially unemployed and millions more underemployed sign up?

    You must be one of those who discover rights in the Constitution. When they suit you.

  28. - howie - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 4:15 pm:

    If all this is just about moving state employees from one facility to another, then why have transfers been frozen for years?

  29. - Justice - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 4:23 pm:

    - George Stevens - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 2:33 pm:

    Cassandra - Boy, you sure know a lot about “everything.” “All” people in CMS are political appointees? Really? Where’s your proof?

    I know at least 15 CMS non-political workers who have moved up the ranks since the days of Thompson, but because they are MCs (two raises in seven years) are making 35K - 55K after 15 to 20 years. This year: no pay raise, no step or time increase, 12 furlough days, threats of consolidation, etc.

    Hate to burst your bubble George, but at our agency MC staff (political ones of Blago/Quinn) got raises and/or bonuses. Go figure that one out. If we are in a budget deficit WHY THEN are there 91 jobs posted with the majority of them non-union?

  30. - tired - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 4:48 pm:

    Gov. Quinn first needs to clean up his own house. Get rid of those 750 political hacks from Rod that you kept employed and then ask the Union for something. My guess is you will save alot more from their salaries than from ours.

  31. - a downstater - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 6:25 pm:

    where do they think the $$$$$ are going to come from?????

  32. - macoupin county - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 6:26 pm:

    To Tired:


  33. - Bird Dog - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 7:12 pm:

    Following up after George Stevens and Justice comments - I was promoted into “merit comp” (quite a joke) without political sponsorship when Thompson was governor. Yes, Justice, I did get a couple of raises and bonuses over the last couple of years. BUT, even with good and excellent reviews for two decades, 2/3 of those I supervise now have a higher pay rate. Do any of you think this makes sense for a non-political person who started at entry-level?

  34. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 7:21 pm:

    Nice generalization, George Stevens:
    “…ceaseless union protection underemployed ‘front-line workers’…”

    I guess you haven’t been to a Department of Human Services office in Cook County.

    Why won’t Quinn negotiate with AFSCME over which non-bargaining-unit employees’ positions must be first targeted for layoffs before a union employees get laid off, per the contract? What does he care about who gets laid off, as long as the cut is made? Illinois has had a problem in providing lists of those who could by law be laid off before union employees, and that’s one of the points of the suit. Why?

    One or more of the grievances that now must be resolved (pending appeal) have to do with Illinois putting the cart before the horse: planning to lay off bargaining-unit employees before negotiating to see which non-union employees must be laid off first.

    Quinn is hell-bent on getting his way for the layoffs.

  35. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 8:05 pm:

    Just got information this has stopped layoffs for now. But the reorganization transfers are still going on. So AFSCME didn’t stop the relocation of hundreds of Corrections staff. So it makes sense play the game with Quinn and blow smoke and we think AFSCME did something.

  36. - fed up - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 8:13 pm:

    If the finances are so bad why has Quinn just hired four new people at IDFPR in the last month, at least two of which make 6 figures. The other two haven’t been paid yet but it’s pretty certain they are too based on their job titles. This is on top of all the high paid Blago people still there in do nothing jobs. It appears that he’s more concerned about backing in his bid for Governor than the safety of low paid correctional officers. He never really was a reformer. He was Walker patronidge guy so no big surprise.

  37. - A Citizen - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 8:44 pm:

    Many of the non AFSCME employees on contract - ADDIS etc. should be terminated before bargaining unit OR Personnel Code employees are laid off. For many years this hiring method was a very convenient hiring process for patronage or just avoiding the obligations of regular employment. Does anyone (e.g. CMS personnel folks) know the numbers in these categories? My guess is that the court case will tell us . . . eventually!

  38. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:00 pm:

    To those of you who support Illinois against AFSCME, you must remember that Illinois signed a contract and must abide by the contract.

    Even one job is worth saving. What has Quinn done to cut costs to save even one job? I’ve not heard or read anything that Quinn proposed to do to cut costs here and there to preserve some jobs. Quinn mentioned layoffs immediately after he signed this year’s budget in July. I don’t recall him talking about saving even one job by cutting costs and not imposing hardship on workers.

  39. - Bill O Rights - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:23 pm:

    Granson of Man

    I dont see the issue that you are arguing. There is nothing in the unions contract that protects their right to work over non bargaining unit employes.

    It seems you want it both ways. To hold the contract against both union and non union employees who are not a party to it.

    The only issue in the unioncontract is the order of lay offs which I believe is where the rub is.

  40. - High Speed Grail - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:32 pm:

    “I still think this is a Quinn/Afscme shadow dance especially since he has made no move to cut the non-union ranks, which could certainly use thinning, especially since Quinn is now hiring his own hacks at a nice rate.”

    Umm, no. Merit Comp workers were shown the layoff door at the beginning of the fiscal year. Some were able to fill other MC vacancies, some were not so lucky.

  41. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 8:57 am:

    I don’t think you can argue that Quinn shares “full blame” for the cuts in the state scholarship fund.

    Quinn proposed a budget that fully funded the program, the General Assembly failed to enact that budget.

    Yes, Quinn used his discretion to fund other programs first. But you could fairly argue that funding human services programs first — because people can’t wait until next semester for state government to fund those programs — was the right priority.

  42. - Fed Up - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 11:33 am:

    First off, Quinn’s statement is inaccurate. He did not offer to drop the layoffs if the union agreed to furlough days. He basically told the union that if the cuts he requested were made he would not lay off additional workers, and that guarantee was good only to 6/30/10. After 7/1/10, even if the union agreed to concessions he would be free to lay off as he saw fit. The union was correct in rejecting this offer. Contrary to his statement, Quinn has not attempted to negotiate concerning the 2600 layoffs that were the subject of the court hearing, and he has been unwilling to seriously listen to layoff alternatives.

    Contrary to some of the opinions out here concerning the legality of the union’s position in regards to the contract, the state is in total violation of the contract in the area of employees hired on personal services contracts. There are several of these hires in the office I work at, all doing jobs that have historically been bargaining unit work. This violates Article I section 3 of the master contract. Article XX Section 2c requires the state to lay off all temporary, provisional or emergency position prior to laying off certified employees. The judge was correct in issuing the injunction. The state has been in violation of the contract for a considerable amount of time in the hiring of personal services contract employees.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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