* From the Illinois Federation of Teachers’ website…
Rumor Mill: Lame Duck Lawmakers Could Vote to Remove Workers from Union Rolls in January
For the past couple of years, Governor Quinn has pushed for the legislature to pass legislation ending the hard-fought rights of many state employees to join a union. Quinn’s battle with public employee unions has boiled over in the past few weeks with the governor announcing an end to extensions to collective bargaining agreements during a drawn-out contract negotiations process. But, it seems the governor is rekindling his effort to pass SB1556, which removes potentially thousands of workers from their unions.
The measure impacts hundreds of the IFT public employees who work throughout state government – including the Secretary of State’s office, the Attorney General’s office and other executive-level agencies.
It is rumored that Illinois Senate leaders will put SB1556 up for a vote during the lame duck session in January, before new lawmakers are sworn into office. The IFT is joining our union allies to fight against this anti-worker power grab. Be watchful for more to come on this issue.
* From AFSCME’s website…
IEA president Cinda Klickna “called for Gov. Quinn to end his assault on the 40,000 state employees represented by AFSCME”:
Governor Quinn’s decision to terminate the state’s contract with its largest employee union, AFSCME, is an attack on both the collective bargaining process and on all unionized public employees in Illinois.
The AFSCME employees provide health services to the sick, the elderly and to children. These hard-working men and women help ensure public safety and enhance the quality of life for all Illinoisans and deserve better than this assault from the state’s chief executive.
On behalf of the 133,000 IEA members, we urge Governor Quinn to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract with AFSCME.
IFT president Dan Montgomery also “urged Quinn to return to the bargaining table”:
Governor Quinn’s actions to terminate Illinois’ contract with tens of thousands of unionized state employees is not only offensive to those of us in organized labor, it is also a sign of disrespect for middle class, working families throughout the state.
The fact is, public service professionals – whether they be teachers, police officers, social workers or correctional officers – dutifully perform their jobs to ensure that government works for the citizens. Discarding the collective bargaining process, especially in the manner that the governor has, is offensive and unnecessary.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, I urge Governor Quinn to reconsider his decision – a decision that inflicts unnecessary harm to thousands of Illinois workers and their families. Furthermore, I encourage the governor to quickly return to the collective bargaining table with a reasoned set of ideas to finish one of the tasks his job requires – a fair contract for AFSCME and the citizens of Illinois.
The Chicago Teachers Union has issued the following statement in support of AFSCME members in state government:
The Chicago Teachers Union stands in solidarity with AFSCME Council 31 in its effort to bargain a fair contract. Although Governor Quinn has recently supported Chicago teachers in opposing the overemphasis on standardized tests in our classrooms and the proliferation of non-union charter schools, we cannot abide his treatment of our brothers and sisters in AFSCME.
The Governor’s unprecedented action to terminate its contract with AFSCME was unnecessary and damaging to the bargaining process. We encourage Governor Quinn to avoid the potential disruption that termination might bring, reinstitute the current agreement, get back to the table and come to a fair settlement.
Two of organized labor’s biggest guns in Illinois took aim at Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday, calling on him to rescind his decision to terminate the contract that applies to about 40,000 state employees.
“We cannot understand why our governor, who has stood with organized labor in the past, would be so eager to undermine our brothers and sisters,” said Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor.
Ramirez was joined in calling out Quinn by Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan.
“State employees are on the frontlines every day preserving public safety, safeguarding children and assisting families, caring for aging veterans, responding to disasters, and protecting our environment,” Carrigan said in a prepared statement.
“Gov. Quinn’s effort to undermine their collective bargaining rights is unwarranted and virtually unprecedented in Illinois government,” Carrigan said.
* And the Sun-Times editorialized on the matter…
AFSCME argues that state workers aren’t to blame for the state’s fiscal woes, that long-term answers lie in a more fair and progressive tax structure. We don’t disagree. But there is a budget crisis that must be dealt with today.
We agree with AFSCME that Quinn’s office should lay off portraying state workers as overpaid compared to those in other states. If the comparison bears out, it’s something to be proud of — that Illinois historically has treated its public workers well.
The real question is whether Illinois can continue that tradition. Sadly, the answer today is no.
* Other stuff…
* CTU rips charters: ‘privatization schemes masquerading as education policy’
* Hinz: Teachers union charges CPS with ‘educational apartheid’
* Emanuel’s Birthday Gift: A Protest Outside His Home - O’Hare employees say new contractor doesn’t pay a living wage
* Owner of firm with O’Hare deal has links to reputed mob figure
* Ken Griffin buyer of Chicago’s most expensive condo