The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), representing more than 32,000 active duty and retired police officers, is urging the members of the Illinois House of Representatives to follow the lead set by the Senate and vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1229. This common-sense legislation will allow state employees to continue providing critical state services even if they are unable to reach a collective bargaining agreement with the Rauner administration. Millions of Illinoisans count on the services these state workers provide every day, and the legislation will ensure that these services continue without interruption, regardless of where the collective bargaining process stands.
“Senate Bill 1229 removes the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality from collective bargaining,” said Illinois FOP Legislative Chairman Keith Turney. “It provides a fair and equitable process for resolving disputes while making sure our veterans care, child protection, education, public safety, and many more vital state services continue unabated.”
Senate Bill 1229 provides a fair and independent process by which Illinois can avoid a work stoppage. If an impasse is reached during collective bargaining, the legislation requires both sides to present reasonable proposals to an independent arbitrator rather than go out on strike or institute a lockout. The arbitrator will carefully consider the proposals made by both sides and determine a course of action. The arbitration process typically helps both sides reach some reasonable middle ground in the collective bargaining process.
Mandating the use of an arbitrator in lieu of a strike or lockout, called interest arbitration, has been in place for years regarding contract talks with police, fire and other public safety officers in Illinois, including FOP members. Senate Bill 1229 will extend those provisions to cover contract talks with all state employees for the short term.
“There have been no labor stoppages among public safety sector employees like FOP members in the decades since this process has been in place,” said Illinois FOP Labor Council Executive Director David Wickster. “It works for both sides and keeps public employees at their jobs and off the picket line.”
“There is no doubt that Illinois is in bad financial shape, but we need to remember that state employees have ALWAYS paid their fair share through payroll deductions for pensions and other legally negotiated benefits,” said FOP President Chris Southwood. “The men and women of this state deserve to be fairly compensated for their work, and the citizens of Illinois have a right to expect uninterrupted state services. Everybody wins with this common-sense legislation. We applaud the members of the Senate who voted to override the Governor’s veto, and we urge the members of the House to join their colleagues and do the right thing.“
The Fraternal Order of Police, founded in 1915, is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. With a proud tradition of officers representing officers, the FOP is the most respected and most recognized police organization in the country. The Illinois FOP, chartered in 1963, is the second largest State Lodge, proudly representing more than 32,000 active duty and retired police officers - more than 10 percent of all FOP members nationwide. Visit www.ilfop.org for more information.