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AFSCME: Rauner plans to force strike or lockout, but union has no strike fund

Thursday, Jul 23, 2015

* 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.

Click here to read more details.

* 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.

Sheesh.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

107 Comments
  1. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:39 pm:

    “No strike fund.”

    Serious question: WTH?!?

    – MrJM


  2. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:40 pm:

    Hand your enemy a weapon, there’s a good chance they’ll use it.


  3. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    == trying to get the Illinois National Guard to perform state employees’ work.==

    I will tell you, I flat out don’t believe that for a minute. Nobody is that stupid.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:42 pm:

    ===…and trying to get the Illinois National Guard to perform state employees’ work.===

    I can’t think of a sitting governor that would think this was a “good idea” ever.

    Elections have consequences. No strike fund? What did the leadership think Rauner was gonna do?

    If they strike, they lose. Sorry.

    Hope for a lockout, no rallies, no picketing, just daily briefings at a podium. That’s is the best chance with an awful, awful “hand.”

    I’m not shocked by Rauner’s handling of this…

    Hope all those who took pictures with the new minted governor feel “good”.

    Note: The Governor wants you paid, as he, simultaneously has no budget for his Agencies. Governir Rauner is with you.


  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:43 pm:

    After all the posturing over pay I seriously doubt he’ll push a lockout. But he can’t predict whether they will strike. Contingency planning they refer to should be happening.


  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===After all the posturing over pay I seriously doubt he’ll push a lockout===

    Considering his “U-Turnaround Agenda” [/snark] I just wouldn’t put it past him.


  7. - PMcP - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:46 pm:

    The lack of a strike fund is mind-boggling, especially because they knew this was going to be an issue 6 months ago. Whomever is leading the local chapter of AFSCME needs to be fired immediately, they’re basically negotiating against themselves now and there’s no real way out


  8. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:47 pm:

    I heard that they didn’t have a strike fund before I retired. I told my union friend that they needed to start planning for a strike. Subsequently, the battle with Quinn pointed out the need for AFSCME to prepare. They didn’t, so their members will suffer if they are forced out.

    While they now play catch-up, they need to remind folks that Rauner is not acting in their interests despite his championing paying employees during the impasse.


  9. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    “After all the posturing over pay I seriously doubt he’ll push a lockout.”

    Based on what?

    – MrJM


  10. - Jasper - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:49 pm:

    Ronald Reagan he ain’t. I can’t think of a better way to make Illinois worse.


  11. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    I hate rauner for targeting collective bargaining rights. but that this union has spent as much on politics as they have while having no strike fund sure gives opponents of public employee unions a nice debate point


  12. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    The handout omitted the last dot point (Governor’s demand),

    - Agree to work 7 years in indentured servitude.


  13. - Kevin Highland - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:54 pm:

    All of the contracts had a “No Strike, No Lockout” clause. I guess AFSCME thought that meant it would never happen.


  14. - Grimm - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:57 pm:

    I don’t know about the National Guard, but I do know that the contacting of retirees and temp “shadow workers” is true.


  15. - Pacman - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    AFSCME doesn’t have a strike fund, but they have their PEOPLE fund for political donations, how’s that working out for your members AFSCME?


  16. - cdog - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    Require a voluntary action? More redefining of common language. Must be in the unpublished newly abridged Rauner Dictionary.

    I imagine the “r” action that is defined in the constitution is banned. So not using it. I do wonder I there is a silent majority thinking that there is a line that might be crossed.


  17. - Huh - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:00 pm:

    When Quinn withheld pay raises and the Union was stating how that hurt the workers, the union still collected their dues. I would have thought they would have had some compassion for their members.


  18. - Georg Sande - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:01 pm:

    No strike fund?! After all of those seemingly never ending uber-generous annual increases provided by Blago & Quinn, neither Henry nor Roberta bothered to plan for a non-patsy Governor? I know this space is all about bashing Rauner, but this is all on the union for poor planning … and for thinking they’d roll over every Governor.


  19. - just a citizen - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    So says notoriously hyperbolic AFSCME propiganda - that seeks to whip the faithful into a frensy. We already know Tier 1 pension benifits are a constitutionally protected right. So, let’s see what reality brings….


  20. - The Colossus of Roads - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    Why don’t they ask the teamsters for a copy of their agreement? It wasn’t this bad. Actually, no strike fund is a blessing for them


  21. - cdog - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    Wait. I thought he loved these middle class people and was worried about their paychecks.


  22. - walker - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:04 pm:

    Sounds extreme.

    Wonder how much of it is just rumor.


  23. - Carhartt Representative - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    There aren’t that many unions that I’m aware of that still keep strike funds. When the teachers went on strike last time, my wife and I began putting a bit away each check. It’s already been suggested that it would be a good idea to do that again in case the teachers go on strike again next winter so we’re starting to save for it. This AFSCME thing didn’t just pop up over night. The rank and file should be prepared.


  24. - Dr X - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    500% and 100% from what baseline?


  25. - Cook County Commoner - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:09 pm:

    Can’t blame the union for not having a strike fund large enough for an extended walkout. That a Donald Trump-like person would become Governor and then play hardball was beyond their reach. And when he won office there was insufficient time to gather resources.

    In the unlikely event of a strike, will the Tier II’s turn on the Tier I’s? An interesting wedge for the Governor.


  26. - Joe M - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:13 pm:

    I know I keep mentioning this, but the health and dental insurance plan being negotiated in this contract will also be the plans for nearly 362,000 people are enrolled in the state employees group health insurance plan — which covers both state and university workers — including active employees, retirees and dependents.

    Whatever ASFCME can negotiate, that is also what the other folks mentioned, union or non-union will also get. So as far as health care, it goes way beyond just AFSCME. And apparently, Rauner is not budging on his health insurance demands of:

    • 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%.


  27. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:13 pm:

    UAW’s strike fund is something like a billion dollars.


  28. - 500 - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:19 pm:

    Aren’t a lot of Illinois National Guard members also state employees? So calling them up would basically be continuing their own job?

    Also, the businesses that these guard members work for probably will be a little upset if they are called up to keep the state administration running at the expense of their bottom line.


  29. - anon. - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:20 pm:

    No lockout, no strike, but no contract. The employees will keep working and keep getting paid.


  30. - Facts are Stubborn Things - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:20 pm:

    Historically, AFSCME negotiates health care for employees and it also covers retirees. If Rauner is planning on continuing with that approach, he will end up back in court in violation of the ISC Kanerva ruling preventing the state from charging retirees a health care premium. Huge reductions in health care would be a back door way to do the same thing as charge premiums. This idea was brought up in oral arguments in front of the ISC. Does anyone know if retiree health care is being treated separately from employee health care?


  31. - Joe M - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:20 pm:

    ==500% and 100% from what baseline?==

    Most recent benefits choice booklet for state and state university employees at:
    http://tinyurl.com/nk2×37a

    More on the health insurance negotiations at:
    http://www.sj-r.com/article/20150221/News/150229852
    Its an article from February, but apparently Rauner hasn’t budged since then.


  32. - Joe M - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    The tiny url didn’t work for the current benefits choice booklet. So here is the entire url:

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB8QFjAAahUKEwiW9dfc_PHGAhUENogKHRyNCmA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.illinois.gov%2Fcms%2FEmployees%2Fbenefits%2FStateEmployee%2FDocuments%2FFY2016_State_BC_Book.pdf&ei=vT6xVdaiGoTsoAScmqqABg&usg=AFQjCNFTjfGkfxm84Uaw2uokbqg-yR06uA&bvm=bv.98717601,d.cGU&cad=rja


  33. - Phenomynous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:27 pm:

    What is the state worker contribution to AFCSME? If the state is paying $4 billion in payroll then even a fraction of that is a lot of money.

    No strike fund seems a bit ridiculous.


  34. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:28 pm:

    Union or non union, it is irresponsible not to work towards having a 3- to 6-month emergency fund minimum. Not everyone can do it, but most can if they really try.


  35. - sickntired - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:30 pm:

    I believe that working employees receive the same health care as retirees. by increasing deductibles and co-pays, they are hurting retirees and diminishing benefits. that being said, any retiree that would cross a lockout or a strike line is working to screw themselves over. but then again, there are a lot of short sided people out there.


  36. - Joe M - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:34 pm:

    ==Aren’t a lot of Illinois National Guard members also state employees? So calling them up would basically be continuing their own job?==

    Yes, a number of them work at DOC and other state agencies, and Illinois State Police, etc. - as well as local law enforcment agencies


  37. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:35 pm:

    ===In the unlikely event of a strike, will the Tier II’s turn on the Tier I’s? An interesting wedge for the Governor.===

    I would doubt it. Many of the new hires already start at significantly lower wages than they would have just a few years ago and I doubt many of them feel as if their compensation packages are generous. Many of the newer hires also have better education and other credentials than their peers with higher seniority.

    I’m not sure why they would accept something that shoots themselves in the foot repeatedly just because of the one portion that won’t impact them that isn’t Constitutional. But Illinois is the land of “do it even though it’s not constitutional.”

    The administration hasn’t done a whole lot to beef up employee morale, either.


  38. - thunderspirit - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:39 pm:

    Playing devil’s advocate here: If AFSCME *did* have a strike fund, wouldn’t it give plenty of ammunition for anti-union people to claim that the union bosses are fat cats, are misappropriating dues from the rank-and-file, etc.? Many of the same accusations being slung at UAW as the September contract end date approaches, in fact.

    That said, a union’s job is to take care of its members, not fret about that kind of thing. It’s pretty unconscionable not to do SOMEthing in light of what they had to know was coming.


  39. - Save the Wails - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:40 pm:

    AFSCME has benn know to, um, “bend” the truth a wee bit in these flyers. That particular one quoted in the post was accompanied by an action request for members to call their reps and beg them to overturn an expected Rauner veto of a bill requiring arbitration (or mediation, I forget which). It is a scare tactic by AFSCME, like the one used regarding pay to State workers (which conveniently failed to include Lisa Madigan’s attempts to prevent the State from releasing funds) intended to terrify their members to go alone with AFSCME’s plans.


  40. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    “No lockout, no strike, but no contract. The employees will keep working and keep getting paid.”

    Exactly. No strike funds because they don’t need them. They will never strike because keeping working without a contract is immensely better than the contract offered in bad faith. Union will file unfair labor practice suit and it will take a long time but in the mean time work will continue. In the event of a lockout workers are entitled to unemployment which would exceed any strike fund payments.


  41. - A guy - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    Some unions act and prepare like unions. Some don’t.


  42. - nadia - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:43 pm:

    There is a difference between a national strike fund like the UAW’s with hundreds of thousands of members, where strikes took on national auto manufacturers, and Local Union strike funds with hundreds or thousands of members. There are very few Local Unions who maintain strike funds. Some have Solidarity funds which are earmarked for helping union members in extreme situations.

    No strike on this one, and if a lockout occurs, I believe Illinois statute requires unemployment for locked out workers.


  43. - Anon. - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:54 pm:

    ==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 ==

    There isn’t any budget. Where has the money for these non-employee workers been appropriated?


  44. - SmokeyBear - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 2:57 pm:

    As a state employee….this stinks. The no-good-news train continues. This isn’t going to end well. Everyone is so busy trying to alpha male everyone else ….that nothing gets done.

    I have nothing to add….just venting.


  45. - Tired - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:02 pm:

    On June 15th, Rauner spokeswoman, CK said “The Administration is not going to lock out employees, and our team will continue to negotiate in good faith.” What happened with that??


  46. - AC - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:02 pm:

    A requirement to volunteer does interestingly redefine the concept of what it means to volunteer.


  47. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:06 pm:

    Sec. 1. No restraining order or injunction shall be granted by any court of this State in any case involving or growing out of a dispute concerning terms or conditions of employment, enjoining or restraining any person or persons, either singly or in concert, from terminating any relation of employment or from ceasing to perform any work or labor, or from peaceably and without threats or intimidation recommending, advising, or persuading others so to do; or from peaceably and without threats or intimidation being upon any public street, or thoroughfare or highway for the purpose of obtaining or communicating information, or to peaceably and without threats or intimidation persuade any person or persons to work or to abstain from working, or to employ or to peaceably and without threats or intimidation cease to employ any party to a labor dispute, or to recommend, advise, or persuade others so to do.
    (Source: P.A. 83-334.)

    (820 ILCS 5/1.1) (from Ch. 48, par. 2a.1)
    Sec. 1.1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Labor Dispute Act.
    (Source: P.A. 86-1324.)

    (820 ILCS 5/1.2)
    Sec. 1.2. Legislative findings and declaration. The General Assembly finds that a union, union members, sympathizers, and an employer’s employees have a right to communicate their dispute with a primary employer to the public by picketing the primary employer wherever they happen to be. The picketing may take place not only at the employer’s main facility, but at job sites as well. The General Assembly recognizes that peaceful primary picketing of any type is explicitly permitted by statute pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 151 et seq., and the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 141 et seq., including the right to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection as provided in 29 U.S.C. 157 et seq.
    (Source: P.A. 94-321, eff. 1-1-06.)


  48. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:07 pm:

    “Employer” means any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, governmental or quasi-governmental body, or any person or group of persons that employs any person to work, labor, or exercise skill in connection with the operation of any business, industry, vocation, or occupation.


  49. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:08 pm:

    I read this week that Medicare charges are likely to go up significantly for the more affluent Medicare recipients (about 30 percent of all recipients). Also read that the the SocSec disability fund will soon run out of money-soon being 2016. Congress could fix the latter by transferring funds, but who knows.If they don’t, this could put more pressure on individual states to aid the disabled. And, of course, the ACA has dramatically altered national health insurance landscape. Part of this alteration is that in some markets, health insurance premiums will go up.

    Relevance? There are many changes brewing up in the health insurance marketplace. In that context, are Rauner’s contract demands excessive?
    I have no idea, but I think we need to look at the broader picture before assuming the worst. Maybe health insurance is going to be more expensive for everybody in the near future.


  50. - burbanite - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:10 pm:

    I think Anon 2:54 nailed it. The court said the current employees had to be paid not temp workers etc. I don’t think the state has the money to pay these “covert” workers. Kind of a trick bag huh.


  51. - burbanite - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:10 pm:

    I think Anon 2:54 nailed it. The court said the current employees had to be paid not temp workers etc. I don’t think the state has the money to pay these “covert” workers. Kind of a trick bag huh.


  52. - wapak - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:13 pm:

    I know for a fact that the National Guard angle has been explored. Guard officers told the administration that it wouldn’t work for a number of reasons, including the fact that many Guard members are state employees and union members. Stupid idea, but it was explored.


  53. - nadia - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:13 pm:

    820 ILCS 404/604 provides for unemployment during a lockout, “employing unit” definition includes the State of Illinois.


  54. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    No strike fund. At least AFSCME leadership has been planning ahead.


  55. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:25 pm:

    === Does anyone know if retiree health care is being treated separately from employee health care? ===

    It has to be for Medicare eligible retirees, not so for the rest.


  56. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:31 pm:

    “No strike fund. At least AFSCME leadership has been planning ahead.”

    Too busy filing and winning huge lawsuits that saved their members and the rest of all State employees billions and billions of $ collectively over time.


  57. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:31 pm:

    === AFSCME has benn know to, um, “bend” the truth a wee bit in these flyers. ===

    Their credibility is no worse than the gov’s.


  58. - Mathlete - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:33 pm:

    Those criticizing the lack of a strike fund should stop and think for a second.

    What are there, 30,000 strike-eligible state workers? A fund that paid them even just minimum wage would cost more than $10 million a _week_.

    I’m guessing that alone is many times the union’s annual budget here in Illinois.

    Comparisons to the national UAW are not valid.

    To my knowledge neither of the teachers unions in Illinois maintains a strike fund either.

    And just imagine the right wing outcry if they did!


  59. - sal-says - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:38 pm:

    == I will tell you, I flat out don’t believe that for a minute. Nobody is that stupid. ==

    Can’t be that sure from the administration’s track record so far.


  60. - Gone, but not forgotten - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:44 pm:

    Drop all wage issues and keep insurance and pension the way it is — more than makes up for a raise. But AFSCME greed is hard to understand.


  61. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 3:57 pm:

    What about the teamsters. Haven’t heard or seen anything about them


  62. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 4:01 pm:

    Greed? You probably want your taxes cut, don’t you? With the State in this dire economic condition? We can’t afford that. That’s pretty darned greedy of you.

    It’s all a matter of perspective.


  63. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 4:36 pm:

    I haven’t seen an example yet of the governor going to the wall on anything.

    Despite the alleged “impasse,” the budget is 80 percent done,

    I doubt very much that he wishes to wear the jacket for a work stoppage.

    But no strike fund is malpractice.


  64. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 4:50 pm:

    Great point, Mathlete! A strike fund is totally unrealistic when you do the math.


  65. - Bruce (No, not that Bruce) - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 4:52 pm:

    I don’t understand all the uproar over no strike fund. I’ve been in a (non state) union for almost 30 years and we have never had a strike fund. It’s up to each individual to be prepared if necessary for a work stoppage. It is not up to my union to support me.


  66. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 4:53 pm:

    === • Require all employees hired before July 1, 2011 to “voluntarily” agree to reduce their pension benefits to the Tier 2 level ===

    Benefits yet to be accrued, not already earned. It will be interesting to see where this goes. Yes, yes, we know there is a contradiction but that’s just semantics. (snark)

    A union that signs a contract with a no-strike clause in it would look disingenuous if it maintained a strike fund. Even Capt Kirk wouldn’t arm his photon torpedoes if he thought the Klingons were just waiting for an excuse.

    Seriously, with all the budget crud going on this is a backwater under card crisis. A strike or a lockout would bring it to the front page. Folks would really get the bite if a strike happened. Rauner would pay his shadow workers with what?

    I’m with OW on this. As a union state employee, I implore the union - DO NOT STRIKE! A lockout may occur but that ends up making Rauner look bad, not the union. Unless a strike is successful within just a few days, state employees will NEVER recoup what they lose -even with a generous contract. RESIST THE URGE!!!


  67. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 5:06 pm:

    No one is going to strike. You can’t purposely reduce your revenue 25% and then claim a crisis. A crisis so bad that it leads to the contract offer that will be found to be not bargaining in good faith. Unions are not as dumb as the caricatures they are made to be. They just beat the State at the ILSC on two issues, they will beat the Guv with the Labor Board.


  68. - Langhorne - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 5:26 pm:

    Now i get it. He wanted state employees paid, without a contract, to justify paying temp/contractual workers in case of a strike or lockout.

    Require tier I employees to voluntarily go to tier 2? Does it always take a judge to tell rauner he cant do something?


  69. - Enviro - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 5:29 pm:

    == A lockout may occur but that ends up making Rauner look bad, not the union. ==

    By revealing this list of anti-worker demands, Governor Rauner is making himself look bad for promoting a turnaround agenda with reforms that voters will recognize as a corporate wish list.


  70. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 5:32 pm:

    === Does it always take a judge to tell rauner he cant do something? ===

    Seems like it Langhorne. Maybe we should hold him personally liable for any legal costs for subsequent lawsuits.


  71. - Politix - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 5:38 pm:

    I never quite know what to make of these handouts. And we’re coming up on the end of a one-month contract. How long could this go on?

    It will be fun getting Tier 1s to volunteer to take a less desirable pension. That’s sure be an easy sell. Laughable.

    His demands on the union are extreme and punitive.


  72. - Triple fat - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 5:51 pm:

    I would just like to point out that eventually the Governor is going to declare an impasse. As the statement reads, ‘While there has been agreement reached on a few issues…’ See there, the Governor has been bargaining in good faith. So when he declares an impasse without budging on the economic issues we only have two choices left. We can accept his terms or strike. Working without a contract is no longer available. Why would he lock out what he considers the vanquished… Make no mistake about it - if we accept his terms and don’t strike he will be correct.


  73. - Just wondering - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 5:59 pm:

    Im not sure but I belive some State agencies have consent decrees from the Federal court in addition the State receives fund federally for some programs if there is a strike or lock-out and certain decrees are not met and services not provided does Illinois stand to lose a lot of money


  74. - Old Elephant - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 6:14 pm:

    Some things to keep in mind.

    Without a tax increase, I don’t see how the administration could do anything but propose no wage increases. People seem to forget that the state is looking at a minimum $4 billion hole that is really probably closer to $6 billion. It would be irresponsible for the administration to offer up anything that increases costs until the revenues are in place. So, holding to a no-increase position is the only option the administration has.

    And, as far as health insurance goes, don’t forget that the Democrats sent the Governor a budget that included his presumed (unrealistic) group health savings. This was a case where both AFSCME and the Democrats were too cute for themselves. They knew the savings were unrealistic, but wanted to stick it to the Governor.

    The problem is that now the administration really has no choice but to try to wring those savings out of group health — after all, what is the likelihood that when a budget is finally agreed to and taxes are raised, that the legislature will be willing to spend almost $1 billion of that tax increase on group health?


  75. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 6:46 pm:

    I do not think employees will strike. Too many live paycheck to paycheck. If I was an employee, especially if I was young with small kids and 15 or more years from retirement, I might consider pension reductions as long as health care didn’t go up too much.


  76. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 6:55 pm:

    - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 6:46 pm:

    Rauner take a break


  77. - Anon1234 - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 7:12 pm:

    In my opinion this union should not do anything. Just wait ’till Congress is back in business and the supermajority will override the veto so SB 1229 will be approved and they can go to Arbitration
    No one loose and everybody comes out clean from this mess.


  78. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 7:28 pm:

    Gone but not forgotten

    You don’t know that the union hasn’t already made that offer and been rejected. After months of negotiations, this is the Governor’s current offer - we don’t know what he started off with. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.


  79. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 7:35 pm:

    Anonymous at 6:46: You’re funny! You might be too old to remember why people take jobs with the state. Many make their decisions based on healthcare benefits especially if they have a 2, 5, and 7 year old at home - one with special health care needs. Retirement seems a long way off compared to tomorrow’s hospital visit.


  80. - Mama - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 7:38 pm:

    “Make no mistake about it - if we accept his terms and don’t strike he will be correct. ”
    If you strike, you get NO pay. If you are locked out, you can get unemployment. If you continue working, you will continue to get paid.


  81. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:05 pm:

    Been busy today and haven’t read the comment yet, so I apologize for any duplication.

    1) Union members - I’ve been telling you it was coming and to get your finances in order for a long strike.

    2) The unions can’t negotiate on pensions. The IL SC made it clear in the SB-1 ruling that the terms in place at hiring (and subsequent enhancements) can’t be reduced, period, end of dicussion. That proposal is so unconstitutional it would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact Rauner really means it and intends to achieve it.


  82. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:16 pm:

    “- RNUG - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:05 pm:

    Been busy today and haven’t read the comment yet, so I apologize for any duplication.”

    Thank you for everything RNUG

    How long do you think the strike will be?


  83. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:20 pm:

    == How long do you think the strike will be? ==

    I don’t have a valid basis to guess. Part of it will depend on whether or not the State has a budget. No budget = longer strike for sure because there will be no source of money for any benefits or raises.


  84. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:21 pm:

    Any suggestions for State employees, RNUG?


  85. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:22 pm:

    RNUG

    What do you think State employees should do?


  86. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:23 pm:

    Also, I must say Thank you for everything RNUG

    You have been a great help and support for many State Employees


  87. - Barbara - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:24 pm:

    I’m retired. I received a call offering me a 75 day contract
    to come back & work my old job in case of a strike.
    My reply: No, thanks!


  88. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:51 pm:

    Don’t believe the Chicago Teachers Union had a strike fund, either, But they did strike and they did win a fair contract. Have folks forgotten that already. Why the surprise?


  89. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 9:02 pm:

    - Barbara - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 8:24 pm:

    Thank you

    Thank you so much


  90. - TRH - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 9:13 pm:

    I can’t imagine any retiree accepting Rauner’s offer to come help him win against thier own interest. If I understand correct their health premiums may be protected from spikes but not out of pocket expenses such as co-pay.


  91. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 9:21 pm:

    == What do you think State employees should do? ==

    Based on what I remember my parents doing when a strike was imminent (and this was when people had only themselves to rely on and a small union stipend if they actually walked the picket line), I think unionized State employees should:

    1) DON’T PANIC! This will eventually get sorted out and you have to retain your sanity in the meantime.

    2) I know it will be hard, but keep your sense of humor and enjoy your friends and family.

    3) Keep / start saving up for their personal strike fund. If they haven’t, stop ALL discretionary spending and set that money, how ever much or little it may be, aside.

    4) Have / get a 3 month supply of canned food staples in the house; you may not like SPAM, condensed milk, canned stew, etc, but you can live on it if you have to.

    5) DO NOT go out on strike unless there is ABSOLUTELY no other alternative; make Rauner either lock you out or the lack of a budget cause you to be laid off.

    6) If a lockout occurs, be sure to explain to everyone who knows you are a State employee that you wanted to work but were not allowed to.

    7) If you HAVE to go out on strike, again, be sure to explain you want to work but had no choice due Rauner’s unreasonable demands.

    8) Since you’ll have free time, write Letters to the Editor explaining your position. Stick to the facts, be respectful, but stress you were not given a choice.

    9) Assuming a lock-out or strike, although they should know, do not assume your creditors understand your situation. Be sure to clearly communicate with them. Try to negotiate reduced payments but be sure your financial situation will allow you to meet those payments; in other words, don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

    10) If you are already retirement eligible, seriously consider if you would be better off retiring. If you can’t figure it out yourself, consult your financial planner or a trusted financially savvy relative / friend. I realize this is probably part of what Rauner hopes to do, force out higher paid “Tier 1″ employees, but it just might be the best action for your personal financial and medical health.

    11) If you are ‘Tier 2′, which means you have 5 or less years in, re-evaluate your career path and alternative job opportunities. This administration is not your friend. I’m not saying you should quit the State, but you need to objectively understand what is likely to happen short-term (no raises, increased job pressures, higher medical insurance costs and continued public ridicule based on what has happened to date / been proposed).

    Finally, for the non-union / Merit Comp people, you are in a “no win” situation … you have my sympathy. Good luck and see #10 % #11 above.


  92. - Jorge - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 9:27 pm:

    I don’t see a strike happening. While the AFSCME bargaining team and council are using scare tactics and language , a lot of front line workers would rather see a lockout. Plus a paid vacation on unemployment wouldn’t a bad summer break. I’d call Rauner’s bluff and make the lockout happen.


  93. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 9:42 pm:

    “- RNUG - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 9:21 pm:”

    Thank You RNUG


  94. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 10:04 pm:

    RNUG number 11 - interestingly, the state is interviewing for open positions. I would not encourage anyone who has a job to quit it to come to work for the state at this time.


  95. - Bemused - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 10:20 pm:

    So a lot of people think the Union should have asked the members to approve an added check-off on their wages, let’s say some 20 years back for a strike fund. I am just guessing that the amount they could have gotten approved would need that long to accumulate the needed cash to be viable in this case. And all the time that pool of unused cash is sitting there how many on here would be berating those no good union bosses for their folly.


  96. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 11:06 pm:

    AFSCME should talk with UAW, and USW workers who lost their jobs due to unfair trade agreements with Mexico and China. A strike is not in there best interest.

    Unlike these unions who lost jobs because corporations in the US care more about profits than American people. AFSCME spent millions of dollars to defeat Rauner and poorly educated their rank and file about the possibilities of a Rauner administration. Elections have consequences, and this is one of them.

    Going on strike instead of being locked out by Rauner is a losing hand. AFSCME leadership once again fails to recognize the long term consequences of their actions.

    I feel bad for the rank and file who have been misled by their leadership for the past three years. Deciding to go on strike shows there is no long term agenda for AFSCME. Just reacting to the latest crisis without a way out. AFSCME needs to find a leadership with a clear agenda and realistic goals during the Rauner administration or they will end up like AFSCME in Wisconsin.


  97. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 11:09 pm:

    - RNUG -

    Can’t think of anything you missed, or that I disagree with in your list.

    Well done.


  98. - Norseman - Thursday, Jul 23, 15 @ 11:37 pm:

    RNUG, I concur with Willy. You did a great job. You’re a great resource. I only wish that we could have served together while we were with the state. You epitomize my idea of a superb public servant.


  99. - RNUG - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 12:09 am:

    -ow-, -norseman-, -Anonymous-,

    Thank you.

    On a lighter note, I assume none of you are Sci-Fi fans since you didn’t comment on this:

    https://telemachusunedited.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/hitchhikers_guide_to_galaxy2.jpg


  100. - Wordslinger - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 12:13 am:

    RNUG is the goods.

    Expert, smart, generous, honest, thorough, calm, reasonable, pragmatic and humane.

    Other than that, you have nothing going for you, cousin, that I know of.

    You can probably hit a curve ball and sling Watchtower,” on the guitar, too.


  101. - RNUG - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 12:35 am:

    Actually, I just thought of one addition for most ‘Tier 1′ employees:

    10a) Remember, under the current SERS pension calculation rules, your pension is based on the highest consecutive 48 months earnings of the last 120 months. In other words, if you assume no raise or even a reduction in salary over the next x years, your Final Average Compensation will not go down from where it is now for 6 years; so if you remain ‘Tier 1′, you won’t be any worse off retirement wise if you take it today or up to 6 years from now. If you still need the salary you make today AND can abide the abuse, you may want to wait and see if Rauner gets re-elected … but that is just one of the factors in any decision.


  102. - RNUG - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 12:39 am:

    -word-,

    Thanks … but my wife might disagree on at least some of it … and I can’t hit a curve ball and you sure don’t want to hear my lack of musical talent, or even my musical taste some days.


  103. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 12:50 am:

    - RNUG -,

    To be honest, I missed it because you are so methodical, I was just taking you literal, lol.

    - Wordslinger -,

    Watching The Longest Day, actually its on in the background. Greatest Generation, saving the world…


  104. - Rufus - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 2:19 am:

    If there is a lockout, who is going to process the 50,000 unemployment claims?


  105. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 4:56 am:

    “If there is a lockout, who is going to process the 50,000 unemployment claims?”

    That will make the state unemployment rate look really good. Whoop there it is. Boom.

    Think on that Mr. Governor Man - Top 0.01% wage earner.


  106. - Yehuda Lavi - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 6:09 am:

    There is a sole source hearing next Wednesday to increase the temporary services contracts by $5M - information is available on the Illinois Procurement Bulletin.


  107. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Jul 24, 15 @ 8:00 am:

    Agree with those who think a strike would be bad for union members.
    How does the Governor lock out workers in Agencies operating under a court order? Sounds like a fight he would lose.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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