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AFSCME: “We must be ready to stand up and resist”

Friday, Jun 26, 2015

* From an e-mail to members from AFSCME Council 31 executive dirctor Roberta Lynch…

The negotiations currently underway for a new AFSCME state contract are the worst we’ve ever seen. The Rauner Administration is demanding dozens of changes to the current contract language—changes that would wipe out vitally important workplace rights, jeopardize employee health and safety, compromise the quality of services we provide to the public, undermine the union’s ability to advocate for employees, reduce promotional opportunities, and drive down take-home pay.

And after months at the bargaining table, the Administration has barely budged from any of these extreme and harmful demands, even as the June 30 contract expiration date fast approaches.

Some weeks ago, AFSCME proposed an agreement to extend the current union contract for as long as necessary to reach a new contract. The Administration rejected that proposal, but subsequently proposed an alternative “tolling agreement” which preserves all rights under the AFSCME contract for another month while negotiations continue and bars any strike, work stoppage or lockout during that time. Yesterday, AFSCME and the Rauner Administration signed that agreement.

This tolling agreement means that all current contractual rights of union members remain in place until July 31—with one exception: Over AFSCME’s objections, the Administration is freezing all step increases and semi-automatic promotions as of July 1. It is the union’s position that even without the tolling agreement, the employer would be required to maintain step and semi-automatic movement. So AFSCME intends to immediately file grievances seeking to undo this freeze.

While the one-month tolling agreement is clearly a positive step in the ongoing efforts to reach a contract settlement for state workers, it is by no means an indication that the Rauner Administration has shifted from its core goal of eliminating unions in our state, and particularly in state government.

There is every reason to believe that the governor remains determined to try to impose his extreme and harmful demands—possibly by forcing a strike or lockout—once that agreement ends. That’s why AFSCME is continuing to build support for enactment of Senate Bill 1229.

This legislation would allow unions representing employees in state government to invoke arbitration procedures if a contract settlement can’t be reached at the bargaining table, preventing the disruption of vital state services. Under the procedures set forth in the bill, an independent arbitrator, mutually chosen by the parties, would have the authority to resolve all outstanding issues.

SB 1229 passed both houses of the legislature and is now on the governor’s desk. Unfortunately, he has already sent strong signals that he intends to veto this legislation, calling it “horrible legislation” that would take away his power. It will be essential to have the legislative votes needed to override that veto.

Call your state representative and senator TODAY at 888-912-5959 or via Click-to-Call.

Tell them: “I support Senate Bill 1229 to help protect public services and ensure fairness for state employees. If the governor vetoes this legislation, please vote to override his veto.”

For a fact sheet on SB 1229, click here.

At the same time that we push to enact SB 1229, we have to be prepared for the conflict the governor seems determined to cause if it does not become law. AFSCME members want to settle our contract without any disruption to the vital services that we provide to the citizens of this state. But we cannot and will not accept a contract that guts our rights and jeopardizes our economic security. If the governor tries to force that kind of contract on us, we must be ready to stand up and resist.

In the coming weeks your local union will be providing you with information on how to best prepare for the possibility of such a struggle. Your AFSCME Bargaining Committee will be back at the negotiating table next week, once again making every effort to reach a fair contract settlement. Show them you back them up 100% by wearing your union buttons, displaying your window or yard signs, and—most importantly—by making clear your readiness to do whatever is necessary to protect the hard-won rights and economic progress that your union contract embodies.
In Unity,

Roberta Lynch
Executive Director

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Norseman - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:29 pm:

    As expected. Sigh.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:33 pm:

    Welp, good luck with all that.

    It’s all ya got right now…

  3. - low level - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:33 pm:

    From August 4 last year -

    From August 4 last year-

  4. - newbie - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:38 pm:

    I really bet buttons and yard signs scare the hell out of Rauner. The only thing that scares a billionaire is becoming a millionaire.

  5. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:41 pm:

    =In the coming weeks your local union will be providing you with information on how to best prepare for the possibility of such a struggle.=

    Don’t worry AFSCME your leadership has always pointed you in the right direction and property educated you who to vote for and which candidates share your values. If you follow their advice again I’m sure you guys will be alright.

  6. - A Jack - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:42 pm:

    Resistance is futile, you must join the zero wage collective.

  7. - Not Rich - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:46 pm:

    Pate Phillip must be celebrating somewhere out in DuPage…

  8. - Union Dues - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:48 pm:

    More Quinn tactics. As usual they will likely wind up paying this retroactively with all of the additional costs involved in doing so.

  9. - low level - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    “Quinn tactics … paying more in long run” ^

    Yes, very good. Exactly right

  10. - PublicServant - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:56 pm:

    Save every penny you can guys. You’re in for a fight against a zealot.

  11. - the Patriot - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:59 pm:

    I do not want to lose the unions in IL, but they need to realize that a majority of IL citizens(taxpayer) make less than the average state worker. You will not win in the court of public opinion.

    You also need to concede that you gave Quinn the last election with a 500k donation(bribe) and he tried to take your pensions anyway. Significant numbers of union members don’t trust the union or democrats.

    What frightens me for the rank and file is that it appears the leadership does not understand how precarious of a position they are in.

  12. - DuPage - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:00 pm:

    =independent arbitrator mutually chosen by the parties=

    This would require agreement on the arbitrator. Rauner would insist on one of his buddies to be the arbitrator.

  13. - PublicServant - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:03 pm:

    Yeah, I was thinking that too, DuPage. I hope there is something in the law that can overcome lack of agreement on an arbiter.

  14. - Defeated - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:05 pm:

    Patriot, while I don’t necessarily disagree with your post overall, I would like to remind you that state workers are also taxpayers. I am getting awfully tired of seeing posts framing the budget mess as being the “taxpayers vs. state workers.”

  15. - Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:12 pm:

    We will need an arbitrator to assist in an agreement on an arbitrator.

  16. - Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:13 pm:

    == they need to realize that a majority of IL citizens(taxpayer) make less than the average state worker.=

    What are you talking about? Do some research.

  17. - A Jack - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    The Labor Relations Board would likely pick the arbitrator. They are supposed to mediate in such matters.

  18. - Eugene - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:18 pm:

    Patriot, your post is inaccurate on just about every point, but my questions is: why is a campaign contribution a bribe when it’s from a union, but when billionaires like Sam Zell or Ken Griffith give millions to politicians it’s apparently OK?

  19. - Stones - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:27 pm:

    I sincerely doubt the Administration would allow contract proposals to be submitted to arbitration. Not going to happen - mark my words.

  20. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:30 pm:

    The commenters here too often form an echo chamber where they overestimate the sympathy for state workers. Patriot is largely correct. It is going to be very difficult to win the hearts and minds of the general public once the Rauner administration starts advertising state worker salaries and benefits. I don’t mean to disparage; it’s just going to be the way it is.

  21. - Qui Tam - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:30 pm:

    Resistance is futile, you WILL be assimilated.

  22. - Skinny - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:42 pm:

    Anon - the salaries are already public information. You just need to look.

  23. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:43 pm:

    Have they put the “strike”!question to a vote of members? Wouldn’t that need to take place and, if done fairly, take some time, before anything like that could move forward?

  24. - Next Weekend - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    I’m a CPA working as an accountant for a State agency making $64K/year after six years on the job. My evaluations state I’m doing the jobs previously performed by at least two people at a nearly errorless rate. Yeah, I’m so overpaid, right. Snark intended.

  25. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:46 pm:

    “Rauner administration starts advertising state worker salaries and benefits” Starts? It’s been public information for years.

  26. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:47 pm:

    @ the Patriot
    What about the 25 million dollars spent on Rauner’s election, and the 40 million dollar war chest he’s using to push his agenda. You need to concede that Rauner is no different and what he is doing is going to backfire. He fails to realize this is the real lives of people he is dealing with, not the stock market.

    What frightens me is like how individuals like you use the word “freedom” “faith” etc to control the average citizen to pad bank accounts while the people at the bottom have to struggle twice as hard to get ahead in life. State workers pay taxes also, please remember that.

  27. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    According to the Comptroller web site the average annual salary of all 104,553 employees paid by the State is $25,281.

  28. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    Yes, Skinny, I know they are. In fact, I’m on that list — and on vacation today. There is a difference between a list being available and a campaign to show how well many state workers are paid, and certainly how good the benefits are. I don’t profess to know how this will all shake out, but I can do math. And the math tells me there are a heck of a lot more people in Illinois who are not state workers than who are, and a whole lot of them are not as fortunate as we are when it comes to pay and benefits. In a perfect world they would say, “Good for them!” In the real world, that is not what they will say.

  29. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    @ Anon
    There is a huge disparity in salaries in state employment depending on skill level and the type of job being worked. As a state employee, you should know that. Positions are based on time, rank, grade, and seniority. The people making the most should be prepared to take a pay cut and work more hours. In the real world, that’s the way it goes. The more you make, the more you should pay, not the other way around. There are certain positions that shouldn’t even be in the union to begin with, but blame past administrations for not paying people well in non-contracted merit comp titles.

  30. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    What is the median salary of an Illinois state worker?

  31. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:03 pm:

    =According to the Comptroller web site the average annual salary of all 104,553 employees paid by the State is $25,281.=

    That’s not true. The database does NOT seperate contact and part time workers.

  32. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:06 pm:

    @ Precinct Captain,
    It depends on the job title. There are many that are not even used anymore. You have PSA’s making 8,000+ a month and then you have clerical staff making half that amount. Lack of staff in many areas causes that to be higher with overtime. Notice you don’t here private sector employers stating what they pay their employees? Rauner is catching heat because it is public record.

  33. - A Jack - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    One wonders why all those envious of state employee wages are not filling all of those $32k per year office assistant jobs that are continously posted for the state. Perhaps because on some sites, the private industry average is $35k or about $3k higher than what the state is offering? One would think there would be zero state job postings since everyone wants those “high” paying jobs.

  34. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:17 pm:

    There should be location based salary differentials for State positions, cosidering the cost of living in the Chicago area.

  35. - Mason born - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:18 pm:

    I think what anon is referring too is the media onslaught. It isn’t going to be look at the engineers, cpa, and dentists we are paying under market rates for it is going to be the janitors making over 74k and secretaries making over 80k with platinum level hhealthcare, 25 vacation days, and payed sick days. It won’t matter that they are a tiny fraction of employees that will be driven home as the norm of excessive state benefits.

    As for 1229 I’m almost positive Rauners main goal is to kill it dead. I wonder if he won’t insist on no veto override as part of any budget agreement. I really hope cullerton and madigan have AFSCME’s flanks or it will be rough.

  36. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:26 pm:

    Anonymous @ 2:17 There are.

  37. - nixit71 - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:27 pm:

    Is it too late for AFSCME can get a refund on their $250,000 investment in Dillard for Governor in 2014?

  38. - Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:29 pm:

    Anonymous @1:59 p.m. “The people making the most should be prepared to take a pay cut and work more hours.”

    Agree 100%. All Rauner’s $200K+/year geniuses should take a pay cut. Bring back that millionaire’s tax, too. Shared sacrifice, right?

  39. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:31 pm:

    “going to be the janitors making over 74k” Janitor II (the highest Janitor title) tops out at $33/hr. That’s about what a Big Three factory worker makes.

  40. - Mason born - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:40 pm:


    I actually pulled that from the comptrollers website using ‘14 gross. Although I did say over when in actuality it was 66 $ under 74k my bad.

    I suspect some ot was worked to get there but doesn’t change the point that by cherry picking names and titles a nasty narrative can be driven.

  41. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:02 pm:

    Mason Born: Then I could counter with an Information Systems Analyst II (with rare exceptions the highest non-management IT title.) It tops out at $106,476.

  42. - Sue - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:03 pm:

    Maybe some of the people complaining here should try to replicate the employment they now have with the State with a job in the private sector. Janitors making $33 an hour- good luck finding anything like that in the real world

  43. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:15 pm:

    “Janitors making $33 an hour” Remember, that’s the very top of the pay scale. You may find janitors in private industry making that.

  44. - anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:15 pm:

    The state of IL pays very well

  45. - Mason born - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:16 pm:


    Yes you could but how many ratings point can you afford vs. the gov.? How many can AFSCME with no dues and members on strike?

  46. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:23 pm:

    Skeptic, please, please find me a janitor in the private sector making $33 an hour — oh and does he or she get Columbus, MLK and Election days as paid holidays? 12 paid sick days, and a pension? And retirement health care paid with 20 years service. No hurry, but let me know what you find out. Thanks.

  47. - Birdseed - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:26 pm:

    === - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:02 pm:

    Mason Born: Then I could counter with an Information Systems Analyst II (with rare exceptions the highest non-management IT title.) It tops out at $106,476. ===

    And coincidentally, darn near every one of them are topped out.

  48. - nona - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:28 pm:

    == The state of IL pays very well. ==

    Rauner hires have been getting paid very well compared to their predecessors under Quinn. But entry-level clerks at the SOS license facilities qualify for food stamps.

  49. - TRH - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:39 pm:

    Birdseed - All those topped out ISA II are the knowledge base. It takes at least 15+ years to achieve and the benefit to the state is two fold. 15+ years honing their skill set and they become the knowledge base. The former you can hire the latter not so easy. This pay in line with private sector too. Programmer/Analysts top out over 100K.

  50. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:41 pm:

    Birdseed: First of all, I doubt “nearly all of them are topped out.” You’ll need facts to back up that. And even if that were true, that only means they’ve been here a while, not that they’re being paid way more than their private industry counterparts. They started at the bottom of the scale just like everyone else. Or are you saying people shouldn’t get paid more for experience?

    Now, perhaps you want to hire a consultant? Figure on $75 to $150/hr.

  51. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:46 pm:

    Computer Programmer Salary in Chicago, Illinois

    “A Computer Programmer in Chicago, Illinois earns an average salary of $61,596 per year. People in this job generally don’t have more than 20 years’ experience. Skills that are associated with high pay for this job are JavaScript, SQL, and C#. For the first five to ten years in this position, pay increases modestly, but any additional experience does not have a big effect on pay.”

  52. - TRH - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:51 pm:

    Anon - topped out and average are two different things. What is the average state programmer wage? Don’t forget to include ther lessor ISS 1, 2 and 3 titles. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

  53. - TRH - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:55 pm:

    And where do you get those in this job don’t generally go over 20 years? I’m in that job. Are you?

  54. - Georg Sande - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:59 pm:

    Rauner v. Cullerton — Rauner looks good.

    Rauner v. Rahmbo — Rauner is ahead here too.

    Rauner v. Madigan — The main event. Still too close to call.

    Rauner v. Lynch? — It’s all over. Rauner in a TKO.

  55. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:01 pm:

    If the private sector is the greener grass, why are people here so worried about a state shut down or wage reductions? Ya’ll can just go grab one of those sweet, high-paid private sector jobs when you leave!

  56. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:02 pm:

    - Georg Sande -,

    How so? Use your words, heavy mouth breathing doesn’t count.

  57. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:04 pm:

    “” Median IT salary in the Chicago area, $88k.

  58. - TRH - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:05 pm:

    Anon - who said I’m worried. I have marketable skills and will be fine just dread the hassle. My post was just correcting your minformation.

  59. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:06 pm:

    Anon: I was waiting for someone to say exactly that. Remember when Rauner hired his “Superstars?” What did he say? “You have to pay for talent.” So either you’re calling him a liar, or you’re being self-contradictory. Which is it?

  60. - railrat - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:13 pm:

    you go Ms. Lynch !! take a stand !!!! and may all the Air Traffic Controllers reminisce in AFSCME’s struggles !!

  61. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:13 pm:

    I’m not defending Rauner. I’m saying you are deluded if you think state worker salaries and benefits do not stack up well against the private sector. I do not see a rush out the state office doors to the private sector. There is a reason for that and it is not the splendid architecture or good coffee.

  62. - Skeptic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:17 pm:

    “state worker salaries and benefits do not stack up well” Is that what you’ve been saying? All I’ve heard is “State employees are overpaid!!” If my understanding was incorrect, then I apologize.

  63. - Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:17 pm:

    No one should be arguing about salary levels, who deserves what, etc. It’s just a gross, petty conversation. We all pay state taxes and a contract is a contract, and your elected representatives voted for it. If ya jealous, fill out a CMS-100. Not being a union member doesn’t qualify you to judge anyone.

  64. - Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:19 pm:

    “I do not see a rush out the state office doors to the private sector.”

    If you don’t work in state government, how would you know that? This is just cheap talk.

  65. - TRH - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:21 pm:

    Hold on there pal we have Folgers and that’s why we stay lol. Yes there are reasons to stay. Job security is one. But how would you know no one leaves the state for private job? I’ve known plenty.

  66. - Robert the 1st - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 4:22 pm:

    “contract is a contract, and your elected representatives voted for it.”

    And when the people finally vote in someone who will negotiate on behalf of the tax payers AFSCME starts pushing a bill to remove the governor from the process. It’s all fair and fine until the other side has representation.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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