* From an AFSCME Council 31 handout, scanned and then pasted below. Emphasis added for obvious reasons…
After more than six months at the bargaining table, the Rauner Administration continues to hold to its demands that would drive down the standard of living of state employees and drastically weaken union rights. While there has been agreement reached on a few issues, the Administration still has a large number of proposals on the table, including:
• No wage increases or step increases for the entire term of the contract
• Eliminate longevity pay (including for all those currently receiving it)
• Eliminate maximum security pay and reduce call-back pay, stand-by pay and roll call pay
• Restructure the group health plan to drastically shift costs to employees-with employees paying as much as 500% more for out-of-pocket costs.
• Increase dental premiums by more than 100%.
• Eliminate all restrictions on subcontracting or personal service contracts.
• Require all employees hired before July 1, 2011 to “voluntarily” agree to reduce their pension benefits to the Tier 2 level.
• Eliminate the Upward Mobility Program in its entirety, as well as a other forms of tuition reimbursement, continuing education, and licensure reimbursement.
• Eliminate any restrictions on forced overtime.
The AFSCME Bargaining Committee has made very clear that state employees will not accept the drastic decline in family income and union rights that these demands represent.
When the union contract expired on June 30, AFSCME proposed that the contract terms be extended until negotiations on a new contract are completed. The Administration refused, agreeing only to sign a so-called “tolling agreement” which keeps the contract’s terms and conditions in place until July 31st. As that date approaches, AFSCME has again proposed that the expired contract be extended. Management has not responded.
AFSCME members want to reach a fair contract settlement at the bargaining table-as we’ve been abl e to do with governors of both political parties for nearly forty years now. For us, a strike is a last resort, a step we wi ll take only if absolutel y necessary to protect our rights and our standard of living.
That’s why we are working to enact SB 1229, legislation that would provide an alternative to a strike or lockout by relying on an ind e pendent arbitrator to resolve outstanding contract issues. We’re calling our legislators to urge them to stand with us and pledge to vote to override the governor’s anticipated veto of this important measure.
But we also know that the Rauner Administration still appears to be planning to try to force a strike or lockout. The Union has received information that the Administration is recruiting retirees to come back to work on contract; hiring temporary workers to ’shadow’ state employees and learn their jobs; and trying to get the Illinois National Guard to perform state employees’ work.
So we have to be prepared as well. AFSCME local unions are beginning now to develop their own plans should a strike be necessary-and many AFSCME members are beginning to plan financially too.
Even in the midst of the current budget uncertainty, state employees are on the job providing the vital services on which citizens depend. We go the extra mile–and then some–to keep Illinois working. Coming together through our union over many years, we’ve gained the fairness and respect that are essential to getting the job done even under the most difficult circumstances. Now we’re at a crossroads. If the Rauner Administration values state employees and the work we do, then we can continue to work constructively toward a fair contract settlement without any disruption in state services. But if the Administration is hostile to state employees and seeks confrontation, then we will be prepared to respond.
This much we know for certain-If we continue to stand together, united and determined, we can preserve the decent standard of living and fair treatment on the job that are so essential to us all.
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* One other item of note…
AFSCME does not have a fund that pays out a stipend when employees are locked out or on strike. However, the Union has a Solidarity Fund that can help in grave emergencies. The Fund will coordinate assistance from other unions that want to support locked out or striking workers and will also work with community organizations that provide emergency assistance.
No strike fund.