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*** UPDATED x5 - No more free health insurance premiums *** This just in… Tentative agreement on AFSCME contract

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013

* 9:45 am - From AFSCME’s website

Tentative agreement reached on state contract

Last night at approximately 12:30 a.m., the AFSCME state bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with the Quinn Administration.

Congratulations to the bargaining committee for this achievement and thanks for all the hard work.

More information coming soon.

I’ve been calling around all morning about this and wasn’t able to get a confirmation. Well, it’s out now. I’ll let you know more when I know more.

* 10:04 am - I’m hearing that the deal tentatively includes 3 years of step increases plus a Fiscal Year 13 retroactive raise, and COLAs in years 2 and 3.

There’s also apparently a Springfield meeting at the Hoogland Center for the Arts tonight to go over details.

* 10:39 am - From the governor’s office…

GOV. QUINN, AFSCME ANNOUNCE TENTATIVE CONTRACT AGREEMENT
Negotiators send proposed three-year agreement to AFSCME members for ratification

The Quinn Administration and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 have reached a tentative agreement on a new union contract covering some 35,000 state employees. Negotiations have been ongoing for more than 15 months.

“At a time when the state is facing unprecedented financial challenges, this agreement is fair to both hard-working state employees and all taxpayers of Illinois,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “I want to thank the women and men who have stayed at the table for more than a year for their commitment to reaching an agreement.”

“AFSCME is very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that protects our members’ standard of living, and is fair to them and all Illinois citizens, even in these very challenging economic times,” AFSCME Council 31 executive director Henry Bayer said.

AFSCME members must ratify any contract negotiated by their elected bargaining representatives. The ratification process will get underway at worksites statewide during the week of March 4.

Details of the tentative agreement will be released after the union’s membership has had the opportunity to review it.

* 10:59 am - There are also several reports going around that some sort of movement has been achieved on AFSCME’s lawsuit regarding back pay.

* 11:18 am - There is, indeed, an agreement on the pay raise lawsuit.

Also, there’s an agreement that will produce hundreds of millions of dollars in savings that takes away free health insurance premiums for retirees.

* 11:52 am - From AFSCME…

The local union president asked me to make clear to you that this meeting [tonight at the Hoogland] is the regularly scheduled general membership meeting for AFSCME Local 2600. This is NOT a ratification meeting. In case union members are seeing this information on your blog, they should know that tonight’s meeting is a general membership meeting, and that ratification meetings to discuss the tentative agreement have not yet been announced.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

131 Comments
  1. - walkinfool - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    Maybe that contract cancellation was part of a smart end game, for the Gov’s team. Hope it all works out.


  2. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    Wow, this is an interesting development. We were told to prepare for a strike. Of course, we don’t yet know the details, but Cap Fax is right on this story. We will stay tuned.


  3. - tired - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    and the nonpolitical SPSA the few that are left need to leave and stop trying to save. a sinking ship for no reward or acknowledgement


  4. - AFSCME Steward - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    I received an e-mail from our office organizer leader that a tentative deal was reached around 3 AM. We are hearing that the governor dropped the appeal concerning the back pay owed as part of the agreement.


  5. - Dan Bureaucrat - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    Congratulations all. Someone is doing something right, likely both sides.


  6. - Roadiepig - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    Last week we were hearing no raises for 3 years and huge insurance premium increases. Now the parties have agreed to COLA’s for years 2 and 3, plus putting the step raises back in? Be curious to see what the insurance premium rates end up being with such a softening of the hard line on pay rates…


  7. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Wonder if there is any language that deals with ‘there isn’t money for your raise after all’


  8. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    If true, congratulations to both sides-lots of heavy lifting


  9. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    I was circling the wagons around my finances, preparing for the possibility of a strike. Though I tentatively voted to strike, I tried tuning out the strike agitators amongst us. This so far is welcome news.


  10. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:31 am:

    Great and it will be paid with?….Billboards Cross Dollars…fracking tax….internet casino fees
    Hold the ticker tape parade pilgrim


  11. - Wumpus - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    My sympathies to the taxpayers for (y)our loss. Seriously, I hope it is a fair deal for all, but I have little confidence in anyone.


  12. - Rufus - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    Have heard that Quinn agreed to drop the lawsuit on the no-raise command he issued back in 2011.


  13. - Aldyth - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    Sure would be nice if the agencies and vendors who are owed billions would get paid, too.


  14. - TCB - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    PQ must really want AFSCME’s support in the next democratic primary……the deal being reported looks nothing like anything we’d heard this last couple of months.


  15. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:44 am:

    - the deal being reported looks nothing like anything we’d heard this last couple of months. -

    Consider the source of the information.


  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    ===Have heard that Quinn agreed to drop the lawsuit on the no-raise command he issued back in 2011.===

    It’s something like that. Trying to get details, however.


  17. - Help wanted - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    Want to see what the impact has been on state department losing experienced management by the silence and dosregard of thisadminstration, the media, call around, do a foia request. Aanyone want a job within cost ncreases over eight years, no raises, the union worker with no supervisor. Governor fair?


  18. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    Help wanted - Whatever happened, I do hope your head gets better.


  19. - rusty618 - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:00 am:

    =“At a time when the state is facing unprecedented financial challenges, this agreement is fair to both hard-working state employees and all taxpayers of Illinois,” Governor Pat Quinn said.=
    This is sure a turn around from what Quinn has said and proposed previously. I wonder if the serious threat of a statewide strike had anything to do with this agreement?


  20. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    - I wonder if the serious threat of a statewide strike had anything to do with this agreement? -

    Yeah, I’m sure after 15 months Quinn got scared.

    This is how bargaining works, I’m not sure what is so hard to understand.


  21. - Johnny - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:08 am:

    How awesome would be if AFSCME has agreed to back Quinn in the primary as part of this deal, but then bails on him at the last minute? A little taste of his own medicine.


  22. - Cassidy - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    Everybody should keep in mind that nothing is done with Quinn until the check clears.


  23. - STP - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    Small Town liberal - what help wanted and other SPSA’s are saying - include us - it has not been 8 years without a raise it has been way more then a decade - an AA should not make more then their administrator


  24. - Slick Willy - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:15 am:

    How awesome would be if AFSCME has agreed to back *** Quinn in the primary as part of this deal, but then bails on him at the last minute? A little taste of his own medicine. ***

    The union could push its members to support Quinn, but I am pretty sure that the raises in this contract will not be sufficient to make people forget Quinn’s antics over the last two years. Not even Kobe Bryant could afford a ring that big…


  25. - Rufus - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    Aldyth - I agree, the situation is horrible.
    Help Wanted - I agree, the management has really gotten screwed by the Governor(s). There is no-one that will stand up for them. I would not take a position in management at the State.


  26. - Raising Kane - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    Not to be the skunk at the picnic but where is the money coming from for this? Many of his agencies are driving on fumes now….and all of a sudden he can afford retroactive raises?? I can’t wait to see the details.


  27. - wizard - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    I do not know how the union can negotiate my free health care benefits when they no longer represent me after I retired. I suspect there will be a suit on this issue also. However, they may have negotiated that there will be no free health care for future retirees. Don’t know how that will play out; re; pension diminishment, or 5%/yr served agreement/contract.


  28. - statert2002 - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    “Also, there’s an agreement that will produce hundreds of millions of dollars in savings that takes away free health insurance premiums for retirees.” That might be a deal killer. AFSCME can’t sell out the retirees to get a deal done!


  29. - pension is a promise - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    We will NOT back Quinn. We worked hard for a fair agreement over the past 15 months. The agreement is fair and thank God it’s over.


  30. - pensioner - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    Current or future?


  31. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:34 am:

    - it has not been 8 years without a raise it has been way more then a decade -

    First, Quinn has been governor for 4 years, so I’m not exactly sure how he’s at fault for what happened before that.

    Second, he inherited the state in the middle of a recession, with the state’s finances in shambles.

    Third, by saving money elsewhere (like this contract), maybe the state can eventually afford to make management pay more equitable.

    Sound reasonable to anyone?


  32. - Roadiepig - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Slick Willy- you nailed it. Probably a good chance that one or both of the future raises won’t have money allocated by congress when they are due, causing he same mess we just went through. The odds of any union (AFSME or Teamsters) throwing their support behind Quinn again are slim, and having the rank and file actually vote for him even less


  33. - Sgt Schultz - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    “…that takes away free health insurance premiums for retirees.”

    Those who have 2 dependents pay the same dependent premium as those who have more than 2 dependents. It doesn’t matter if they have 3 or 10 dependents. That “free” coverage needs to go.


  34. - statert2002 - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    wizard has a good point could mean future retirees we’ll have to wait and see. If it is retire now before this contract takes affect if you can.


  35. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    - throwing their support behind Quinn again are slim -

    AFSCME didn’t endorse Quinn in the last primary. It will be interesting to see if they have the stomach to endorse a republican in the next general.


  36. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    If this applies to current retirees, I wonder if this is the State trying to lock in retire health payments by contract in advance of any ruling in the Maag case?

    And if it is current retirees, that’s almost 23,000 SERS retirees that got thrown under the bus plus some SURS retirees.


  37. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    Health insurance is where the money is.


  38. - Miffed - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    - STP - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    Small Town liberal - what help wanted and other SPSA’s are saying - include us - it has not been 8 years without a raise it has been way more then a decade - an AA should not make more then their administrator

    The problem here is that I know few SPSAs that make less than those below them. Yes, many of the PSAs prior to being included in the union made less than their employees, but now they are in the union so they will get their raises.

    The SPSAs, I have no sympathy for, because they are all politically connected in one way or another and they chose to accept a job that was not guarantee any form of raises. If they didn’t like that uncomfortable feeling, they shouldn’t have accepted the job. The same could have been said of the PSAs prior to getting accepted in the union, you know what you were getting into when you accepted the job, don’t be upset when you got what you asked for. No different than current employees and retirees who accepted their jobs under the agreement of pension and health care and now that is going to be taken away from them as originally agreed.


  39. - Fred's Mustache - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:46 am:

    ===AFSCME didn’t endorse Quinn in the last primary. It will be interesting to see if they have the stomach to endorse a republican in the next general.===

    If Quinn gets a credible challenger in the primary, they might not have to.


  40. - Tsavo - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    How can AFSCME negotiate retiree healthcare premiums for those who were never in their union???

    I was in Troopers Lodge 41, not AFSCME.


  41. - Roadiepig - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    Still not sure if a new contract can take away a benefit that a retiree earned while working for the state in a job not coverd by AFSCME? Future retirees yes, but I suspect if they also take away an earned contractual benefit retroactively it will run afoul of the diminishment clause


  42. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:51 am:

    Miffed,

    Not all SPSA’s were / are politically connected. Some of them were in other job titles, a lot of them technical specialities, back before the SPSA title was created. They got swept up into the SPSA title through no choice of their own based on the level of their salary at the time. There was a break point where you were either a PSA or SPSA and it was arbitrary. You have to look at the sub-classification of the SPSA title to really get a feel for whether they are political hacks or specialists in different fields.


  43. - boat captain - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    RNUG-how would this affect the ruling on the Maag case? Wouldn’t the court ruling still be in effect even if afscme does agree to the health ins premiums in their contract.


  44. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    I don’t know how the union can claim to speak for me. I was never in a union title and never a member of any union. Because of my titke, I was in the “enemy” camp - management.


  45. - Roadiepig - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    STL- you are right. I forgot AFSCME chose “none of the above” last time. The next primary the odds are if the endorse a candidate it will be “anyone but Quinn”


  46. - Anonymous1001 - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    Amen, Brother. Thank you RNUG.


  47. - Mason born - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    Looking into this for my Mom who is retired. It appears that language in the contract says that the retiree payments for healthcare will depend on the outcome of the Maag case. Apparently as it was explained to me if the state wins the union has negotiated a rate to be paid if the union wins it is wasted contract language. I have that on pure word of mouth. While i trust source i certainly wouldn’t go to print with it.


  48. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:58 am:

    boat captian,

    Can’t even guess at the moment. The devil is going to be in the details. It will, I suspect, depend on exactly what the ruling in the ‘Maag’ case is. Even if the retirees win Maag, I’m sure the State’s postion re this contract is that it was a “choice” that was agreed to.


  49. - pensioner - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:01 pm:

    @Rich Miller Find out if current or future retirees!


  50. - CIC - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    What did AFSCME give up in this deal?


  51. - Skeptic - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    “The SPSAs, I have no sympathy for, because they are all politically connected in one way. . .” Not true. I was an SPSA, and I have no political connections, a fact that I’m sure was not lost on the Blago administration who turned me into an ex-SPSA, may he rot in Colorado.


  52. - Irish - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    Sgt Schultz @ 11:35 am: Not sure where you are getting your information, but from someone who has paid my dependent health care for ALL my dependents there are definite differences between 1 dependent , two dependents, three dependents adn four dependents. And my dependent coverage was NEVER FREE, So maybe get clear on the facts.


  53. - lincolnlover - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    I am going to bet that the retroactive raise covers the cost of increased insurance premiums. COLA for the next 2 years will probably do the same. Glad step increases were kept. It would be very difficult to keep younger workers without them.


  54. - Ruby - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    The cost of health care insurance premiums has increased over 100 percent during the past ten years. This is a problem that needs to be addressed as it persistently saps our economy.


  55. - Secret Square - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:16 pm:

    “I am going to bet that the retroactive raise covers the cost of increased insurance premiums. COLA for the next 2 years will probably do the same.”

    Which means us merit-comp/non-union folk are totally screwed since the health insurance provisions will apply to us but NOT the raises….


  56. - Irish - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    STL - I admire your unquestioning, follow him anywhere loyalty, to Governor Quinn. But for me and many many of my coworkers it will be an “Anybody but Quinn” vote in the primary and in the general if he wins the primary. At this point I would support Mr. Keyes if he chose to run for Gov. rather than Pat Quinn.


  57. - Cook County Commoner - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    The last Illinois Dept of Insurance biennial pension report (2011) states there are 664 pension plans in Illinois. It also observes that the number of government employees throughout Illinois working and entitled to a pension or already collecting exceeded 1 million for the first time.
    The US Census for 2011 indicates Illinois state government had 105, 892 full time and 52,604 part-time employees.
    Seems to me that savings at the state level for pensions and retiree healthcare is important, but the real real expense lurks outside of the 5 state pension plans.
    My recent property tax bill in Cook County shows liabilities for the taxing districts that reach me. It’s scary.
    The number of Illinois registered voters in Illinois recently reported by the Tribune was 7.282 million.
    Assuming my numbers are in the ballpark, and the one million Illinois state and local government employees entitled to pensions carries along just one sympathetic voter, say a wife, that brings the pro-pension voter bloc up to 2 million or 0ver 27% of the electorate.
    Add in voter apathy and easily befuddled voters, the pro-pension contingent is formidable at the polls.
    I guess that’s why my state rep has said to me on a couple of occassions that there is no “political will” for real change.


  58. - lovecraft - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    It was made clear to us in a SURS Annuitants Association Meeting that premium free health care for current and future retirees would be gone by this July or July 2014. As one person here posted health insurance costs is where the money is. Since I retired after 32 years of service, and I am only 57, I will be faced with having to buy insurance for close to a decade. Guess I’ll be working part time for another 10 years and taking away possible full time employment for a younger person. Thank you Illinis.


  59. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===I am going to bet that===

    Don’t do that here.


  60. - tired spsa - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    I am not political. I applied for this job, sat through several interviews and got a job then the rug was pulled from long-term family medical issues, thru the economy thru the hope that Quinn was a decent human being, always performing the best job possible. it truly makes me sad to see the lack of supervision and professional conduct left because a governor prefers media announces,friends, and power than the small amount of money to a group that has kept moving these last few years. its not fun watching all that institutional knowledge walk out. The impact for the next governor and by extension. the state will be devastating.


  61. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:25 pm:

    Irish - And I admire your “Lowell Mill Girls” vision of AFSCME’s hardships. Good luck.


  62. - hard worker - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    To: Irish - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:09 pm

    Sgt Schultz @ 11:35 am is correct, check the most recent Benefits Choice booklet page 7. Infact, here is the link to the book. http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/benefits/StateEmployee/Documents/FY2013_State_BCBook.pdf


  63. - lovecraft - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    Sorry Illinis. I meant Illinois.


  64. - Mouthy - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    Does the insurance suit go away with this deal? Depends on whether other entity’s besides AFSCME who are involved choose to stay in. As I recall several suits were combined meaning several parties to the combined suit.


  65. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:39 pm:

    Mouthy,

    As I remember it, most of the parties to the combined ‘Maag’ lawsuit were non-union … a retired judge, retired SPSA’s, and specifically 2002 ERI SPSA & SURS.


  66. - Anyone Remember? - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:40 pm:

    hard worker -

    Not quite (what did you expect, CMS is involved). You can be billed extra for some dependents after 2.

    http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/benefits/StateEmployee/Pages/State-Dependent-Enrollment.aspx


  67. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:48 pm:

    ==The US Census for 2011 indicates Illinois state government had 105, 892 full time and 52,604 part-time employees.==

    Cook County Commoner, those numbers are for total Illinois public employees - not just state employees.

    2011 Public Employment and Payroll Data
    http://www2.census.gov/govs/apes/11stil.txt


  68. - lovecraft - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Some members of SURS are union members, for example, Professional Staff and non-tenure track faculty at some universities. I would like to see a reasonable compromise if premium free retiree health care is going away. Does anyone know what retired teachers in K-12 or the community college system pay now, or does it vary statewide?


  69. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    Let’s add one more rumor to the mix … a commentator on the SJ-R says the premium amount for retiree health insurance agreed to by the tenetative contract will only apply if the State wins the Maag lawsuit.

    Right now, that comment (#33) is close to the bottom.

    http://www.sj-r.com/carousel/x766874277/Quinn-administration-AFSCME-reach-tentative-labor-agreement


  70. - Mason born - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:21 pm:

    Rnug

    Pretty sure that is True. The source i had see 11:57 was intimately familiar with the bargaining.


  71. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:34 pm:

    Mason born,

    missed that … been on the phone and trying to keep up at the same time.


  72. - Mason born - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:39 pm:

    Rnug

    I am really surprised that both sides let that go in there. PQ usually seems convinced he is never wrong no matter what the rest of creation thinks.


  73. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    ==The SPSAs, I have no sympathy for, because they are all politically connected in one way or another==

    No, they are not. You shouldn’t talk about things you clearly have no clue about. And, there are indeed many, many, many people that make more than their managers. That is beyond ridiculous. It will never be fixed, at least not anytime soon, unless you want to give people $20,000 or $30,000 raises. Bite me.


  74. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    Mason born,

    Like you said, it’s interesting. I’d love to see the actual language. I can see why the union would want it … a case of limiting the damage. And something I heard a pension lawyer say gives me a hint as to why the State might want it also.

    I’m surprised they managed the deal early this morning; I had the impression as late as yesterday they were farther apart.


  75. - Sgt Schultz - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    Irish, with all due respect, check the CMS website, www.benefitschoice.il.gov, and look at the rates in the benefit choice options book for state employees. Then please come back and tell everyone how much current employees pay for dependent premium.


  76. - Sick of politiicians - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    So once again, the workers have to pay for the state politicians fleecing of the pension fund for years. They put us in this mess, and we have to pay for it. It is just not right on any level. We were hired under a contract that should be adhered to. Change the contract for new hires, not those of us that were already hired under a previous contract. Are contracts not legally binding anymore? I can’t get out of a mortgage contract just because I spent money willy nilly and can’t pay for it. Why can government get out of adhering to a contract that they originally agreed to. I guess when you make the rules you can change whenever you like. Again, just not right.


  77. - Concerned - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    As a retiree, AFSCME has NO right to contract to
    take away retiree benefits and I expect a lawsuit if
    they have done so. I went for years without a raise and
    they should do the same rather than encroaching
    on current retiree benefits.


  78. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:58 pm:

    @SgtSchultz:

    Are you implying that dependents don’t cost more money? If you are you couldn’t be more wrong. Perhaps you should check your facts.


  79. - Joe M - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    ==Some members of SURS are union members, for example, Professional Staff and non-tenure track faculty at some universities==

    It depends on the University. For example at UIUC, the faculty are not union, but a lot of the staff are. But at WIU the tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty are union, but a lot of the other staff aren’t. And at any of the state universities there are a considerable number in administration that obviously aren’t part of a union. UPI http://www.upilocal4100.org/ represents the faculty, and some other groups at some of the state universities. Also, campus police and physical plant employees often belong to other unions. So it really is a mixed bag.


  80. - wizard - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:00 pm:

    RNUG-could you explain the hint? Like you, I can see why the union would want it in there but I cannot see why the state would desire such a clause. As a retired guy this concerns me greatly. I have appreciated your input on the pension fiasco for quite some time. Thanks


  81. - Sgt Schultz - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:02 pm:

    Anyone Remember? @ 12:40:

    Where does it mention “additional premium”? That web page references eligibility, not premium rates. Hard Worker @ 12:26 provided a direct link. Try that one.


  82. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    @Sgt Schultz:

    Look on pages 6 and 7 of this link:

    http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/benefits/StateEmployee/Documents/FY2013_State_BCBook.pdf


  83. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:09 pm:

    @Sgt Schultz:

    My bad. I see what you were saying now. However, in all of the plans I’m aware of there is always some sort of cut-off for “higher” premiums. It doesn’t go up for each kid after a certain point.


  84. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    ==That “free” coverage needs to go. ==

    Oh, and thanks for trying to cut my pay. Of course I know it’s “vogue” to pile on state employees. After all, we don’t deserve to earn any kind of a living.


  85. - Mason born - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:15 pm:

    Rnug

    I can see the point i mentioned i think PQ is self righteous and convinced he is infallible forgot to mention i find Henry Bayer to be the same.

    As far as sides being apart the folks i talked too thought they would be calling for a strike vote as soon as negotiations were over yesterday. Maybe PQ thought a strike would seal his fate against LM. For that matter even if he beat LM with a 19.4k vote margin last time maybe he decided the 30k Afscme members was a hit he couldn’t take. Oh and don’t forget this contract expires July 2015 so in less than 2yrs it starts all over. Man i thought the perpetual campaign was bad.


  86. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:19 pm:

    wizard,

    I alluded to it at 11:58. It’s all about the “choice” theory … I suspect it won’t fly if the retirees win but I’ve heard it suggested as a basis for argument.

    It affects me too but, as Rich says, I’m trying to take a deep breath and stay calm. Just checked my BP … too high … time to turn off the computer and have a relaxing lunch with the Mrs.


  87. - STP - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:20 pm:

    Sorry Miffed - the state called me - they asked my to please help them out - which I did and took a pay cut to come work for them - I am not connected - JUST KNOWLEDGEABLE AND CAPABLE - under the Republicans we got he general raises the union got - under the Dems. we got nothing - when the staff was reduced we picked up additional responsibilities without compensation - and now there is legislation that says we cannot get into the union - so think what you want but with the several hundreds of millions of dollars that some of us have brought into or staffed for this state - you might not be employed


  88. - I know labor - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    AFSCME cannot negotiate away benefits for retirees… In the union or not. When you retire you give up all union rights… You have no right for administrative relief… You can’t file an unfair labor practice, because the labor act does not apply to you. You can’t vote in union elections… But most of all your pension and benefits are not protected by a union contract… They are not protected by state statute… They are protected by the state Constitution, which the labor act doesnot override. This agreement is a farce and both side know it!


  89. - wizard - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    RNUG-Thanks. I know this affects you too. That’s one of the reasons I read and appreciate your input. Your analysis is usually very well thought out. Fortunately I do not have high BP, but I have learned not to get too excited about things over which I have no control. No control does not mean I have no recourse however. Thanks again.


  90. - Sgt Schultz - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    It’s not my intention to “pile on” anyone, Demoralized, I just wasn’t clear. It would be nice for the retirees, like that 80-something year old lady Rich referenced a few weeks back, to continue with free coverage and let the active employees pay for all of their dependents and have an incremental increase in basic premium. Look, none of us can afford a cut in pay, which is what an increase in premium will be; however, I would rather see some blood-letting of us actives and our lawmakers than the retirees. My apologies.


  91. - huggybunny - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    If the union membership agrees to the health insurance premium change by accepting the contract, does that open the door for the State to constitutionally diminish pension benefits by using the health insurance yes vote saying it is the agreement/consideration needed by employees in a pension bill that offers health care or reduced pension benefits?


  92. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    wizard,

    One last comment I’m sure you will appreciate, given your user name, before I go. Back when I worked for the State and was expected to meet ridiculous requests, I had some business cards printed with one change; my job title on those was ‘Thaumaturgist’


  93. - ditto spsa - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    how many Spsa / nonunion Psas are left in the state government ??? how many have more than 3 years of service? how many are union on temp assigment? how many will retire in June???


  94. - Francis - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    - STP - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:12 am: Get over it, you must be a “bad” dep. director if you are not making more than your AA. :)


  95. - Miffed - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:47 pm:

    Ok, so I will apologize for saying most SPSAs are connected, however, I will hold to the fact that when you took the job you knew you weren’t guaranteed a raise nor were you part of the union. If you didn’t like those conditions, you should have never taken the job to begin with. To complain for something you agreed to is frankly inappropriate. It’s the same argument as those saying that the Governor should pay the raises the contract agreed to provided.

    In a state that has historically paid management less than their employees, why anyone would take that a job with those stipulations is beyond me. Someone told me once, they took it because they needed the experience to move on to bigger and better things. Then move on to those bigger and better things and don’t complain about the compensation you get while you’re with the state.


  96. - LINK - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    Since most of us are trying conjure up answers, I wonder how this will impact the (up to 1900) PSAs Quinn will be taking out of the union?

    Just more fue….I mean food for thought!


  97. - I know labor - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    This will not stand the test of litigation. But…if it does, then approximately 80,000 of us should receive full union benefits… Which includes voting rights and administrative relief… Which means filing an unfair labor practice against AFSCME for not bargaining in “good faith”. Second, all 80,000 will throw Henry Bayer OUT!


  98. - I know labor - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    Ok.. I have said my piece. Now, I am taking a chill pill.


  99. - wizard - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    RNUG-lol


  100. - Fiercely Independent - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    - Miffed-

    - In a state that has historically paid management less than their employees-

    It depends on how far back in history you go. When I started in 1977, this was not the case. The Union was not the entity it is today, and non-union employees did receive raises.


  101. - CarrollCounty - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    Always confused as to whether the pension clause really means free healthcare/insurance for life, or just that the actual financial pension cannot change.

    Are they conflated in retiree’s minds only or are they one and the same?

    (Local school TRS/IEA-NEA household here, not a state worker.)


  102. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:50 pm:

    === I will hold to the fact that when you took the job you knew you weren’t guaranteed a raise nor were you part of the union. ===

    True, but we were guaranteed a pension and health benefits if we survived long enough to be eligible.

    While there is no “guarantee” of raises, there is a reasonable expectation of a raise every so often if you want a competent and professional management team. Having MCs going years without increases while the union folk receive them only harms the quality of state government.


  103. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:51 pm:

    @Miffed:

    Sure there were no guarantees. But it is entirely appropriate to complain about nearly a decade with no raises, especially given the fact that union members have seen their salaries increase at a good clip during that time. It used to be handled through a bit of parity. The union got raises, and so did non-union personnel. That ended under Blago and the practice has continued through now. I might understand the situation a bit if it were the norm to go for such a long period without an increase in compensation. It’s not. I have friends who work in the private sector and they have all received raises and/or bonuses nearly every year. It’s not a matter of “knowing what you signed up for.” It’s a matter of being treated with fairness and respect. It’s too bad you can’t understand that.


  104. - inker - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 4:04 pm:

    After all this time there is light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully.
    It shows how poor Quinn and his advisors have missed the boat. He surely will be not be Governor again, and Lavin will no longer be in State Government along with the rest of his so called team.


  105. - Anon. - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 4:09 pm:

    ==In a state that has historically paid management less than their employees,==

    If you find that state, please identify it. It is NOT Illinois unless your idea of “history” is “starting with Blago.”

    ==The SPSAs, I have no sympathy for, because they are all politically connected in one way or another==

    Not even remotely true 10 years ago, but it is becoming more and more the case because no one except a political hack would take an SPSA position with this administration. You can argue all you want that the non-union employees knew going in they had no guarantee of fair treatment, but the administration’s mistreatment of non-union professional and managerial employees has created a big problem for the administration that keeps getting bigger. When these people leave, who do you get to replace them?


  106. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    I believe it was the legislature that took away free health care for retires. . The courts said they had to negotiate the rate with Afscme and they have been keeping it from taking affect by not agreeing to anything. That negotiation became part of this one apparently. They couldn’t have put it off forever.


  107. - Irish - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    Sgt Schultz - Apparently I misunderstood your post. When you mentioned “free dependent coverage” I thought you actually meant “free dependent coverage.” I am currently carrying two dependents and they are definitely not free. Also I had two additional dependents on my insurance and I know I paid more for them because as they grew up and moved out my insurance payment dropped. I would have to go back and see if the rates were different 8 and 10 years ago, but I am sure that I was paying more when I had 4 dependents than I am now with two.

    Also for those folks who think that state employees currently get free insurance they are wrong. I am also paying a monthly premium for my own insurance and I am currently in my 38th year of working for the state.

    I would also like to remind MJM that we are not in the same position that the GA members are. The other day he made a comment that the GA members made the sacrifice of a pay cut to help get Illinois fiscal house in order. Well Mikey, we regular state employees aren’t earning $70,000.00+ for a PART-TIME job. My agency frowns upon employees having a second job and you have to get their approval to have a second job. I don’t believe I will be able to find one that is as lucretive as the “other jobs” the GA members have. So please, before you start telling me that you are “sacrificing” get a clue as to what the word really means.


  108. - SDP - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 4:36 pm:

    I just heard that the retirees will have to pay 50 dollars a month for their healthcare. I don’t know yet if it includes future or current retirees.


  109. - Skeptic - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 4:36 pm:

    As Anon 4:12 said, “. . . the administration’s mistreatment of non-union professional and managerial employees has created a big problem”

    That’s EXACTLY the reason so many PSAs are in the union today. And in Quinn’s defense, it didn’t start with him. When I took the SPSA, I got a couple Merit raises, until Blago (may he rot in Colorado) took office. He not only froze salaries for us MC, but made us contribute an extra 1.5% into the pension fund. (Ah, remember that little gift? And how’d that turn out?) So now more and more SPSAs are connected because (a) the people in power seem more interested in finding jobs for their peeps than having the best person for the job and (b) the best people for the job are running away from the madness.


  110. - Original Rambler - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 4:51 pm:

    @miffed 2:47

    No need to apologize. My guess is that many of the SPSAs who read and post on CapFax voluntarily reclassified themselves as “unconnected” on November 5, 2002!


  111. - I know labor - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:04 pm:

    It was Not the courts who put it at the bargaining table. Also, thev G.A. Is not above the constitution. The courts have not ruled on this particular legislation, yet.


  112. - I know labor - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:14 pm:

    Also, since all union members get to vote to ratify the contract…does this mean retirees get to vote?


  113. - Bob - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:42 pm:

    I see a lawsuit against AFSCME in the works. They cannot negotiate for someone who they do not represent. But retirees will not know anything until the day the members are voting. If I remember the AFSCME game. Hand the members a Synopsis of the contract. you vote immediately. There is no giving members information before the vote. I guess they are afraid the members will discuss the contract and organize against it. Then AFSCME will count the votes and tell the members it passed state wide


  114. - Liberty_First - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:47 pm:

    I know labor, are you not confusing bargaining unit members under the labor relations act with union membership? Retirees are not members of any bargaining units under labor law.


  115. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 6:03 pm:

    Labor, http://illinoispolicy.org/blog/blog.asp?ArticleSource=533

    Bottom line, as Quinn says it has to be negotited


  116. - Gannt Chart - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 6:49 pm:

    If this results in a contract the membership approves, then I’m happy the State avoided a strike. The SPSAs and the PSAs yet to be removed from bargaining units get the worst deal of all. I hope they’re close to retirement so they don’t have to put up with their situation much longer.


  117. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 7:22 pm:

    Hip hip Hooray!!!


  118. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 8:18 pm:

    If this contract gets approved, I wonder if the FY13 retroactive pay increases will result in some layoffs (due to the new hit upon their personnel line items before June 30).

    Also, has anyone heard any updates on contract negotiations at the Secretary of State’s office (involving SEIU, IFT, etc.–since not a single SOS employee is an AFSCME member).


  119. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 9:24 pm:

    emails from Bayer to AFSCME folks tonight…..catch up steps, 2% July 1 2013 and 2014, pay 1% more for insurance. How did we go from back up two steps to catch up and then some?


  120. - I know labor - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:08 pm:

    The” Illinois labor act” does not cover you if you are retired. It doesn’t matter what union you belonged to when you were a “public employee” when you retire you are no longer a public employee. Therefore, you have none of the rights that are listed I the Act. The only rights that you have is what the court will determine the Illinois constitution protects. If the courts decide healthcare is not protected by the constitution then, in theory, they could charge you full price for healthcare… Without negotiating with any union.


  121. - C. Montgomery Burns - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:13 pm:

    AFSCME & The Mighty Quinn have put on quite a show these past 15 months. I haven’t seen such stilted choreography since the Lee Harvey Oswald prison transfer. Excellent!!!!


  122. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 10:28 pm:

    –AFSCME & The Mighty Quinn have put on quite a show these past 15 months. I haven’t seen such stilted choreography since the Lee Harvey Oswald prison transfer. Excellent!!!!–

    Nobody laughed the first time, dude.

    I know you’re out there, I can hear you breathing!


  123. - Northern Light - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 1:19 am:

    I thought AFSCME and state employees were toast, but Quinn blinked. This is a good day in Illinois for a change. Maybe the war on workers is coming to an end for now.


  124. - foster brooks - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 6:03 am:

    As long as greed exist the war on workers will never end..


  125. - Miffed - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 7:46 am:

    - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:51 pm:
    “It’s not a matter of “knowing what you signed up for.” It’s a matter of being treated with fairness and respect. It’s too bad you can’t understand that.

    See, I do understand that, and that’s why I would never take a job that has those conditions without first realizing that it may be months, years, or never before I got a raise AND accepting that possibility. I never said I agree with it, I am just saying that this has gone on long enough that people need to realize that it IS the current condition. As many say, if you don’t like the work or the working conditions, then get out. NO, that isn’t always an easy proposition, however, you truly are getting what you signed up for.


  126. - KurtInSpringfield - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 7:53 am:

    @I Know Labor:
    *If the courts decide healthcare is not protected by the constitution then, in theory, they could charge you full price for healthcare… Without negotiating with any union. *

    You are missing one important point. The legislation the GA passed and Quinn signed into law regarding changes to health insurance requires CMS to negotiate costs with the Union including retiree costs. And if the courts do not rule this law unconstitutional, then AFSCME does have the legal authority to bargain health care benefits for retirees. So, from a legal standpoint, your theory is wrong.

    For those of you bashing AFSCME for negotiating retiree rates, would you really want CMS setting rates for you with no representation and no protection? Do you know what the rates were? Without AFSCME, the average retiree not eligible for medicare with a dependent (spouse) would have paid between $800 and $1,000 a month in premiums. That’s from management’s original proposal. They would have implemented that immediately if they did not have to bargain with AFSCME.

    You ought to be thanking AFSCME for protecting your benefits as much as they possibly could given the law that was passed last year not railing against AFSCME or threatening to sue (as one commenter as mentioned).


  127. - Miffed - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 7:54 am:

    - Anon. - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 4:09 pm:

    ==In a state that has historically paid management less than their employees,==

    If you find that state, please identify it. It is NOT Illinois unless your idea of “history” is “starting with Blago.”

    ==The SPSAs, I have no sympathy for, because they are all politically connected in one way or another==

    Not even remotely true 10 years ago, but it is becoming more and more the case because no one except a political hack would take an SPSA position with this administration. You can argue all you want that the non-union employees knew going in they had no guarantee of fair treatment, but the administration’s mistreatment of non-union professional and managerial employees has created a big problem for the administration that keeps getting bigger. When these people leave, who do you get to replace them?

    History doesn’t always mean “forever and ever”. The history of SPSAs not getting raises has been around 10 years now (under Blago’s and Quinn’s governorship. That’s 10 years of history, actually quite a long time. While many SPSAs make government their life’s employment, many others come and go and 10 years is more than the length of time they stay in the position.

    My questions to all the SPSAs: First, where do you think the money will come from to all the sudden give every SPSA a raise so that they are above the employees below them? Yes, they did it with the PSAs, but only by adding them to the union. Most PSAs shouldn’t even be in the union, and for sure SPSAs (by the nature of their job) should never been in the union. The PSAs being added to the union added MILLIONS to the state’s bankroll, and it just can’t afford to do it again with SPSAs, unless they restructure an awful lot of positions throughout government (which I think they should do anyway, but that’s a different topic). Second, if an SPSA thinks they should have the right to join a union, are they not saying that they no longer are considering themself a higher level manager? Higher level managers,as I mentioned, should never be in the union.


  128. - KurtInSpringfield - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 8:07 am:

    I also want to make clear AFSCME did not bargain away any retiree benefits; the GA took away retiree health care benefits. That’s why Maag and others filed lawsuits against the State. I agree this is wrong.

    AFSCME was (and is) just trying to mitigate the impact of the new law on current retirees. And if the new contract has language that takes into consideration the outcome of the court case, then IMHO, this contract is the best current retirees can hope for. I hope to be a retiree someday, and I also hope when I am a retiree and no longer in a bargaining unit, AFSCME will continue to fight for my retiree benefits.


  129. - Bob - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 8:33 am:

    KURTinSprinFiled
    The court will have to decide if AFSCME has the right to negotiate for the retirees. AFSCME can tell everybody its legal. If any retiree agrees to any changes in their pension, the state has won. You have voluntarily given up a guaranteed benefit. It may be just a token today, but the door is open, since you agreed to changes. In three years it may be more than you can afford. I hope the AFSCME see that AFSCME worked with Quinn to throw Retirees under the bus.


  130. - Joe M - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 8:37 am:

    ==The legislation the GA passed and Quinn signed into law regarding changes to health insurance requires CMS to negotiate costs with the Union including retiree costs==

    I don’t think the law says anything about CMS negotiating retiree ins premiums with any unions. It is my understanding that the law calls for each year the GA will allocate whatever amount of money it wants, to CMS, and then CMS has to figure out how to allocate that money to pay for portions of retirees’ premiums. I could forsee that each year the GA would devote less and less money to CMS for that purpose, and retirees’ premiums would keep going up and up. But supposedly it is in the hands of the courts now.

    Here is the law. I couldn’t find any mention of negotiating with unions.

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/97/PDF/097-0695.pdf


  131. - KurtInSpringfield - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 9:49 am:

    Joe M,

    Thank you, I stand (or sit) corrected. You are right. I should have done my own research instead of just repeating what I was told or read. I don’t even remember now from where I got that information.

    My question then would be why did CMS even bother negotiating retiree rates with AFSCME if they didn’t have to? There has to be some reason.

    But my other argument still stands. If I were already retired (and when I am), I would still want AFSCME doing their best to limit the negative impact of this law on current retirees.

    Bob,
    AFSCME did not work “with Quinn to throw Retirees under the bus”. It was Quinn and the General Assembly who threw retirees under the bus when they passed the law to which Joe is referring. It is this law that says CMS and its director sets the health insurance premium rates for current retirees. It is the law that takes away your benefit. AFSCME had nothing to do with that. I’m pretty sure AFSCME lobbied against it. And I think AFSCME has joined in the lawsuit against it. I know I personally made calls to my legislator trying to stop its passage. I hope the law is found unconstitutional. Then this is all moot. But if the law stands, all AFSCME is trying to do is reduce how much CMS wants to charge current retirees for their health insurance. Besides do you really think we would “throw you under the bus” for any reason? Your current benefits sets the precedent for our future benefits. We will fight for those as much as we do everything else.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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