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More on strike preparedness

Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Amanda followed up on my post yesterday about the strike Contingency Preparation Form sent to agency heads

Rauner’s spokesman ignored repeated inquiries about the origin of the leaked document; instead he said only that “we continue to negotiate in good faith.”

I can’t tell you where and how I got it, of course, but I can say the form was most definitely not leaked by the governor’s office.

* More

AFSCME’s spokesman says there’s never been a strike in the 40 years Illinois has had collective bargaining. But he says after six months of contract negotiations, the two sides remain far apart. The union spokesman went on to call the Contingency Preparation Form a “troubling sign” that Rauner’s pushing for a confrontation that’d disrupt important state services.

I still think it’s just reasonable management to have preparations at the ready in case a strike does happen.

* More

The governor was asked in mid-May if state employees should be concerned about layoffs or a strike. “Hopefully not,” he said. “We’ve got to make some big changes. Changes are hard. And there’s going to be a lot of resistant to change.” Rauner went on to say he wants to be able to pay employees more, based on productivity - not just seniority, “so we’re going to have some tough discussions. But I want everybody who works in government to have a great career. I want them to be well compensated. I want them to have a great retirement. But we need a system that’s affordable, and also incentives everybody to save taxpayer money because the tax burden on our citizens is too high already.” […]

“I may have to … take a strike and shut the government down for a few weeks … that’s a possibility,” [Rauner said in March of 2013]. “I don’t know many politicians who would be willing to do that. I won’t be happy doing it, but I will do it proudly because it’s the right thing to do.”

Which Rauner will emerge?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

66 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    Everything points to the Rauner willing to shut down the state.

    “Why?”

    Look at the very specific demands required by the Governor to the Union.

    Those aren’t compromise demands, those aren’t “take it or leave it” demands. Those are “these are the parameters to define why the impass… happened”

    Self-fulfilling prophesy, with the road of demands to get there.

    Do not strike.

    Get lockout. Sonny will lock you out.


  2. - The Equalizer - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    I have to say, I find it very hard to believe him when he says he wants to pat state employees more. Seems very against everything else he and his people have said.


  3. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    “We’ve got to make some big changes. Changes are hard. And there’s going to be a lot of resistant to change.”

    This is true, I have experienced this myself as we drove hard to right our district’s financial ship. Efficiencies, system change, practice change are all very challenging. In this i get what he is saying. No body wants their ox gored, I am as guilty of that as anyone. Given all of the changes and reductions we have experienced in the last five years, more reductions for our district would have a very negative impact on our mission.

    “pay employees more, based on productivity”

    But, he fails to walk the talk on the pay statements. He hired people, his people, at higher salaries than predecessors.

    I get planning for all possibilities, but as I posted yesterday you have to be careful of the fine line between planning and not bargaining in good faith or even the perception.


  4. - The Equalizer - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    “Pay” state employees more. Stupid autocorrect…


  5. - Hedley Lamarr - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    Expect a strike & Rauner will try to break the union, running the state like a business.


  6. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    I don’t understand why it is surprising to anyone that contingency plans are developed at the end of contracts. It’s been done towards the end of every contract that I’ve been around for. There isn’t anything sinister about it. It’s standard operating procedure. People need to be a little less paranoid. I know it’s hard to do in this climate but in this case everyone needs to calm down.


  7. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:06 am:

    “I may have to … take a strike and shut the government down for a few weeks … that’s a possibility,” [Rauner said in March of 2013]. “I don’t know many politicians who would be willing to do that. I won’t be happy doing it, but I will do it proudly because it’s the right thing to do.”

    How could any governor be proud of something so ungubernatorial?

    Would you fly in a plane with a pilot who said he’d proudly crash it if it looks like he couldn’t land on time?

    Would you use a surgeon who said he’d proudly euthanize you if it looks like he can’t save you?

    What kind of GOVERNOR talks like this?


  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    ==It’s been done towards the end of every contract that I’ve been around fo==

    This. These plans have already been in existence for many agencies.


  9. - Person 8 - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:11 am:

    Equalizer–”he says he wants to pay state employees”

    This is code for no union dues.


  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:16 am:

    Sounds like the same Rauner. When he says he wants to pay employees more based on productivity, not seniority, he can just say nobody was productive enough for a raise and then everyone will be in the MC no-raise boat.


  11. - Mouthy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:21 am:

    “The whale (union), the great white whale”, shouts Captain (Governor Rauner) Ahab from the helm…

    An so another day of the same…


  12. - Wordslinger - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    When will any Rauner emerge?

    Strange time to go on the milk carton.


  13. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    Does anyone think Rauner is looking for a “PATCO” moment here ala Reagan?


  14. - thunderspirit - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    I’m no fan of Gov. Rauner, but contingency planning is sound management strategy. No need to criticize that; heck, it’d be more worthy of criticism if he *didn’t* plan for it.

    I do believe he’d welcome a strike, though, and that a State shut-down is almost certainly part of his entire plan.


  15. - scott aster - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:31 am:

    Thanks “demoralized” you got that right and saved me allot of typing. So RICH have you leaked anything about what is holding up the labor talks???


  16. - Tony - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    Why is it simply “reasonable management” to be preparing to bring in scabs to break a strike? It might be a good idea to do this if you are negotiating in good faith and the other side is unreasonable in its demands/not negotiating in good faith, but when you put forward the list of demands Rauner did, which defeat the point of collective bargaining itself, it comes off as being disingenuous. You look like you’re inviting a strike and that you want one. No union is going to agree to entirely give up collective bargaining rights for pay, union dues, and take massive hits on their pensions and health care benefits all at once. What exactly do AFSCME members get back if they agree to this? Looks strikingly one sided to me. You have a collective bargaining process here where unions aren’t allowed to collectively bargain for pay or benefits? That defeats the entire point of collective bargaining. This is Rauner’s way of saying “go to hell” to the unions and trying to break them in one fell swoop. He’s offering nothing, so there won’t be an agreement. Furthermore, he knows it, and that was the point from the beginning, so when we hear about strike plans from Rauner, that was the point from the beginning.


  17. - The Muse - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:42 am:

    As we saw during the primary last year, Rauner was fairly undisciplined at times. Rich, you pointed out last year that after the scare he faced with Dillard and the support he received from unions, Rauner went curiously quiet about right-to-work. The comments from March 2013 feel like they are Rauner being frank and honest. He was still new to all of this.


  18. - Juvenal - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:43 am:

    === he wants to be able to pay employees more, based on productivity ===

    Unless I am mistaken, none of the compensation packages of any of his “superstars” contains a single penny of compensation that is contingent on performance.

    I suggest none of them should be paid until the Turnaround Agenda is passed and signed into law.


  19. - Very Fed Up - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:50 am:

    I hear overtime might start at 40 hours instead of 37.5? Election day might no longer be a paid holiday? No more automatic promotions? No more handing out overtime based strictly on seniority? Doubt there will be much sympathy once the details come out.


  20. - Secret Square - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:51 am:

    Is there any chance that Rauner is trying to set up a situation where he backs off at the last minute on all the really harsh stuff (e.g. massive all-at-once increases in health insurance premiums), and thereby puts the pressure on AFSCME to give ground on other issues that they might not have conceded otherwise? For example, if he backs off on demanding that employees start paying 40% of their healthcare premiums now, and lowers that to 20%. That’s still quite a bit higher than what we pay now, and in a “normal” contract negotiation would probably be a non-starter, but in comparison to what Rauner is currently demanding, it looks “good”. Could that be the ultimate goal — if he’s gets just 1/2 or 1/3 or even 1/4 of what he’s asking for now, he still gets way more than his predecessors did, right?


  21. - Federalist - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    As I have previously stated, Rauner wants a strike and the unions will have to give it to him. They can not stand by and let him totally decimate unions.

    Also, as I have previously pointed out while the Legislature has always stayed out of direct contract negotiations this could be a game changer.


  22. - AC - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:10 pm:

    ==Is there any chance that Rauner is trying to set up a situation where he backs off at the last minute on all the really harsh stuff (e.g. massive all-at-once increases in health insurance premiums), and thereby puts the pressure on AFSCME to give ground on other issues that they might not have conceded otherwise?==

    From what I’ve seen so far, very little chance. If he spent 1/10 the time on workers comp reform that he spent in right to work, he’d have that agenda item through. Rauner wants to fight more than he wants to win.


  23. - Mama - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    If 38,000 state employees are AFSCME members, how many state employees are a part of another union? Would a strike by AFSCME force the other unions to strike? I assume a lock-out means everyone has to go.


  24. - X-prof - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:23 pm:

    It might be prudent for any governor to have a contingency plan, but it’s important to consider the personality and ideology of this particular governor. If he was thinking about a strike and layoffs as the noble, brave, “right thing to do” back in 2013, I have to believe that’s still his plan for 2015.

    Yes, AB, I suspect reprising Reagan’s PATCO moment is part of the guv’s thinking, but I have no real evidence for that. It’s just that it’s a core meme of anti-union culture.

    Amanda’s audio from the Republican Lincoln Day event and the way she contrasts it with his silence on the matter after the primary is reminiscent of Romney’s 47% moment –– a core meme for a different group.


  25. - Mama - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:25 pm:

    ++ what is holding up the labor talks? ++

    There is a very long list of things between what Rauner dictates as what he needs from the union, and what the union needs for state employees. Most state employees have not had a raise in years.


  26. - Secret Square - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:29 pm:

    “most state employees have not had a raise in years”

    How is that possible when most of the current collective bargaining agreements (not just AFSCME but other unions) contained provisions for 2% general raises for FY14 and FY15?


  27. - WeeblesWobble - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    Federalist…..as I have previously pointed out while the Legislature has always stayed out of direct contract negotiations this could be a game changer.

    with respect, how can the Legislature become involved in contract negotiations?


  28. - Mama - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    ++ What kind of GOVERNOR talks like this? ++
    A Venture Capitalist Governor


  29. - Norseman - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:48 pm:

    Demoralized is right people. This has been done during GOP and Dem administrations. The only thing different is the form.

    Now whether Rauner wants to use the plan is a different matter.


  30. - Norseman - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    === Which Rauner will emerge? ===

    Darth Rauner!


  31. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===Demoralized is right people. This has been done during GOP and Dem administrations. The only thing different is the form.

    Now whether Rauner wants to use the plan is a different matter.===

    Spot on. Perfect. That should also be the “fear”?

    Question; if Rauner is Darth Rauner, “who” is Luke Shakewalker?


  32. - Federalist - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:58 pm:

    @WeeblesWobble,

    It is the state of Illinois and I am not so naive as to believe that all types of behind the scenes political pressures could be brought to bear.

    Hope that answers your question.


  33. - ZC - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 12:59 pm:

    … Machiavelli Rauner!

    “A ruler, therefore, who has a well-fortified city, and who does not set out to make enemies, is not going to be attacked; and, suppose someone does attack him, his adversary will have to give up in disgrace. For political circumstances change so fast it is impossible for anyone to keep an army in the field for a year doing nothing but maintaining a siege > And if you are tempted to reply that if the people have property outside the city walls and see it burning, then they will not be able patiently to withstand a siege, and that as time goes by, and their own interests are damaged, they will forget their loyalty to their ruler; then I reply that a ruler who is strong and bold will always be able to overcome such difficulties, sometimes encouraging his subjects to think relief is at hand, >>, sometimes taking appropriate action to neutralize those who seem to him to be agitators.”

    But Machiavelli also implies above, Bruce, that to needlessly take on enemies you don’t have to antagonize, is the mark of a really dumb prince.

    You’ve got the lion part down, but I’m not convinced you’re a fox yet. Madigan is the Master of Setting Snares.


  34. - Soccertease - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    I prepared many strike contingency plans over my 36 years in state govt. The plans are mainly upper management performing the most critical agency functions for a short period of time. Unions don’t want to strike because the rank and file want/need their paychecks. BVR knows this.


  35. - DuPage - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 1:12 pm:

    @Arizona Bob 11:27 =Does anybody think Rauner is looking for a “PATCO” moment here ala Reagan?

    Yes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgT9QVkGXxI&feature=youtu.be


  36. - HangingOn - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    ==Darth Rauner!==

    Funny, my mind went straight to “Spaceballs”, not “Star Wars”.


  37. - zonz - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    sing it Tony
    _____________________________

    - Tony - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    Why is it simply “reasonable management” to be preparing to bring in scabs to break a strike? It might be a good idea to do this if you are negotiating in good faith and the other side is unreasonable in its demands/not negotiating in good faith, but when you put forward the list of demands Rauner did, which defeat the point of collective bargaining itself, it comes off as being disingenuous. You look like you’re inviting a strike and that you want one. No union is going to agree to entirely give up collective bargaining rights for pay, union dues, and take massive hits on their pensions and health care benefits all at once. What exactly do AFSCME members get back if they agree to this? Looks strikingly one sided to me. You have a collective bargaining process here where unions aren’t allowed to collectively bargain for pay or benefits? That defeats the entire point of collective bargaining. This is Rauner’s way of saying “go to hell” to the unions and trying to break them in one fell swoop. He’s offering nothing, so there won’t be an agreement. Furthermore, he knows it, and that was the point from the beginning, so when we hear about strike plans from Rauner, that was the point from the beginning.


  38. - Mouthy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    The first rule of negotiating in my book is to never renegotiate something you’ve already won in past contracts. However, there are times when management will want to modify or reform a beneficial union provision. In that case after accessing the impact and intent of what they want to do and what you can give up, you look for item(s) you can add in exchange for what they want. I see the list yesterday and I don’t see anything the Governor is offering in exchange for anything. All I see is a man obsessed with destroying the unions and it’s workers. If you are a storekeeper in Springfield I’d be making contingency plans too..


  39. - Federalist - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    PATCO was an illegal strike. They walked off the job and a contract had not ended.

    If state employees break any contract they are toast. Rauner wins right then and there. If they strike after a contract has ended that is a very different story. Not predicting exactly how this would all play out but it would not be an illegal strike.

    And to be honest I do no know just how labor relations law would affect Rauner’s right to fire such workers after a contract ended. And of course, could he really replace all of these workers. No way, unless there were significant defections.

    I fail to understand what other people fail to understand about this very important distinction.

    And yes, I was a member of a union for over 33 years- SEIU and AFT.


  40. - Rufus - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 2:25 pm:

    They will not strike because the wages and benefits are better now then what is proposed. As long as negotiations continue, the better off the union is.


  41. - Archimedes - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 2:57 pm:

    Why couldn’t Rauner bargain to impasse, then impose a last best and final offer? That would maybe provoke a strike but would avoid a lockout. Better optics, especially if some minor movement was made from the initial comp and benefit offer. But still a big reduction from status quo


  42. - Thunder Fred - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:07 pm:

    Organized Labor organizations filed legislation today baring AFSCME from striking. Will the legislature vote to take away their rights?


  43. - Anon - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:07 pm:

    Rauner is doing everything in his powe to impose a strike or a lockout. He hates the union and the employees in it. Makes me sick


  44. - zonz - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:20 pm:

    I shudder to think that perhaps Rauner believes (or is being advised) that he can get away with imposition of this “last and final” after an impasse.

    Rauner: My last and final offer was:
    A, B, C and finally, the union shall give up the future right to bargain collectively over the following laundry list of items . . .
    ___________________________
    Author: Archimedes
    Comment:
    Why couldn’t Rauner bargain to impasse, then impose a last best and final offer? That would maybe provoke a strike but would avoid a lockout. Better optics, especially if some minor movement was made from the initial comp and benefit offer. But still a big reduction from status quo


  45. - Peoria Guy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:25 pm:

    I think Gov Rauner has no love for the union. I do not think he “hates the employees in it”.


  46. - Norseman - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:36 pm:

    === I think Gov Rauner has no love for the union. I do not think he “hates the employees in it”. ===

    Why no. We don’t think he hates the people. Indentured servants are the best resource he can have! He’ll even give them a 5 minute break to do a photo op with them.


  47. - Secret Square - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:41 pm:

    “Organized Labor organizations filed legislation today baring AFSCME from striking.”

    Can you tell us the sponsor or the bill number, please? And why on earth would other unions “file legislation” like that (even if they could, because organizations don’t file legislation, legislators do).


  48. - Peoria Guy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:44 pm:

    Norseman, hyperbole run wild. You know better. :)


  49. - Norseman - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:47 pm:

    Peoria Guy, a little snark to brighten the day. Otherwise we might cry at this debacle of a year.


  50. - Peoria Guy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:49 pm:

    Heck, Norseman, my eyes are already welling up. :)


  51. - Peoria Guy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:55 pm:

    People have been asking what is the Governor going to give up to balance concessions from the union. I think the answer is very little. The Governor needs to lower costs, not be expense neutral. The state is in a helluva mess and everybody will have to feel the pain. Labor and benefits are generally the largest expense of any organization and so managers look there to get significant savings.


  52. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 3:59 pm:

    I know this has been done those years when negotiations haven’t gone well or stretched out this late, however the sticking point with me is why doesn’t the governor’s office just say that? Why do they not wish to comment on the original question? Seems pretty simple to answer to me u less there’s some reason it’s not


  53. - Federalist - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 4:00 pm:

    @Rufus,

    I agree that they will extend negotiations on and on so as not to go on strike. But they will in the final analysis if Rauner sticks to his position.


  54. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 4:00 pm:

    ==everybody will have to feel the pain==

    I’m still waiting on the part of the plan where people in the Governor’s income bracket feel some pain. If “everybody” needs to feel the pain then “everybody” should.


  55. - Peoria Guy - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 4:11 pm:

    I agree Demoralized. That said, if there is an income tax increase that will be pain for just about everybody, rich and poor. A service tax will also affect everybody also. I look for both to happen.


  56. - Thunder Fred - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 4:12 pm:

    SS- The bills are being heard in committees in both chambers this afternoon. Anyone who’s been in the Capitol more than 3 days would know how to find filings and postings.


  57. - Skeptic - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 4:14 pm:

    “Why couldn’t Rauner bargain to impasse” I think that would constitute an unfair labor practice (i.e., not bargaining in good faith.)


  58. - zonz - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 4:17 pm:

    the corruption is what’s killin our economy
    ___________________-
    Springfield-area unemployment at seven-year low in April http://dlvr.it/B0zW2l

    Unemployment rates fall in Clark, Champaign counties - Springfield News Sun http://dlvr.it/B0MGcp


  59. - Minnow - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 7:28 pm:

    Secret Square: If you’re still looking, article is in Pantagraph. HB1285 and SB1229 with amendments.


  60. - Property of IDOC - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:26 pm:

    If we strike, he will then just fire us…it has to be a lock out.


  61. - Tom K. - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:56 pm:

    Illinois is a typical family, and our political leaders are the Dad. Mom wants a new dishwasher, Junior wants to go to Disneyland, and teenage daughter Suzie wants to attend the School of the Art Institute. Dad looks in his wallet, and finds two bucks. There is a stack of unpaid bills on the table, and every other call is from someone complaining about not being paid. Oh, and the furnace is broken and the roof is leaking. So what does Dad do? Well, if Dad is Mike Madigan, he agrees to do what everyone wants, and maxes out another credit card. If Dad is Rauner, Mom has to wash dishes by hand in the sink, Junior gets to pitch a tent in the back yard, and Suzie gets to go to Daley College. Dad fixes the roof himself and a guy from work fixes the furnace, but only if Dad helps him move this weekend. Now, everyone hates Dad, but at least they won’t be living in their car this winter. Since they didn’t have to live in the car, they don’t understand that Dad saved them. And, he’s the Bad Guy.


  62. - Secret Square - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:58 pm:

    OK, found it, plus this story:

    http://www.sj-r.com/article/20150528/NEWS/150529401/10511/NEWS?rssfeed=true

    So AFSCME itself suggested/proposed this bill, which, apparently, is designed to prevent EITHER a strike or a lockout from happening immediately upon the expiration of the current contract. Makes sense to me, but, you guessed it, the administration is “vehemently opposed” to the bill.


  63. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 11:09 pm:

    - Tom K. - Thursday, May 28, 15 @ 10:56 pm:

    You are wrong. Rauner would not fix anything.

    If Dad was Rauner, he would hire someone to do the roof and then not pay him and say that he already made to much money from previous jobs. He would then demand money from him stating that he should support his daughters college education and son’s trip to Disneyland.


  64. - CharlieKratos - Friday, May 29, 15 @ 7:31 am:

    -Peoria Guy-;
    “The state is in a helluva mess and everybody will have to feel the pain.”.

    Yes, but the problem is, everyone expects the state workers to take a double helping of the pain. If and when taxes are raised, they’ll be paying them too.


  65. - Grandson of Man - Friday, May 29, 15 @ 8:29 am:

    “I’m still waiting on the part of the plan where people in the Governor’s income bracket feel some pain. If “everybody” needs to feel the pain then “everybody” should.”

    You got that right. Here is a recent Crain’s Chicago article about income gains going to the top.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150527/NEWS07/150529826/top-0-01-of-households-gain-as-income-concentration-rises


  66. - CharlieKratos - Friday, May 29, 15 @ 8:37 am:

    Waiting on Rich to post an article about Bernie Sanders, just to watch the sparks fly if nothing else.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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