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War of words resumes

Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration wants to abolish step increases, or scheduled raises based on time in service, according to the state’s largest public-employee union.

The Rauner administration, however, says that’s a stretch of the truth and argues the governor has never proposed a compensation system based solely on merit.

Council 31 of the the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees told its members that the administration has “clearly stated across the bargaining table that … (the state’s) demands include not just a step freeze, but the abolition of the step plan in state government.”

The union says Rauner is taking a no-compromise approach that belies his stance before the legislators and the public, according to the memo obtained by WMAY Radio in Springfield.

* As noted, the story was originally broken by WMAY. Many thanks to my buddy Jim Leach for sending me a copy. Click for a larger image


* Full response from the governor’s office…

AFSCME members should ask their leaders to start telling them the truth because this bulletin is false and misleading.

The Governor has never proposed eliminating step increases. In fact, he has proposed a temporary freeze until the budget is balanced and the State can once again afford to pay automatic increases.

The Governor has never proposed eliminating protections against privatization. In fact, he has proposed expanding those protections by giving the union the right, it currently does not have, to be awarded a contract if it can meet or exceed the savings from private companies.

The Governor has never proposed eliminating worker protections from layoffs. In fact, the Governor has proposed that workers identified for layoffs could move into any open vacancy for which they are qualified before that vacancy can be filled by a non-state employee.

The Governor has never proposed a compensation system based solely on merit. In fact, the Governor proposed a bonus system that would include an automatic immediate bonus to every AFSCME employee before January 1, 2016 and additional bonuses to those employees with exceptional performance based on objective performance standards.

The Governor has also guaranteed that at least 25% of the state workforce will receive these performance bonuses every year of the contract. AFSCME has made clear that it does not want its exceptional employees paid more for their hard work and outstanding performance.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

100 Comments
  1. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 11:40 am:

    Here is a thought:

    It is unbelievable to the private sector that unions would argue against merit pay as opposed to “step increases.” This is a major problem with government employees - not only does it present a losing scenario for the tax payer, but it kills morale within their own ranks. It is fertile ground for the shovel leaner who gets paid for just showing up. I am flabbergasted that the unions would not even discuss it. Their attitude towards this concept feeds the stereotype of a “government employee.” And I don’t believe the story that it does not work, I have seen it work and still see it work around the state. The public sector needs to be dragged into the new economy or we are all doomed.


  2. - ash - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 11:42 am:

    What is the truth on the proposed health care increases? My guess is that might be an even bigger sticking point…


  3. - the Other Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 11:45 am:

    – “In fact, he has proposed expanding those protections by giving the union the right, it currently does not have, to be awarded a contract if it can meet or exceed the savings from private companies.”

    Can someone clarify what this means? Is Rauner suggesting that AFSCME act as both employer and labor representative so it can bid on state work? I’m pretty sure that this would violate all sorts of labor laws.


  4. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 11:49 am:

    “would argue against merit pay as opposed to step increases.” One word: Patronage.


  5. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 11:51 am:

    @the Other Anonymous:

    It means that if the state is bidding out work AFSCME can submit a bid just like any other vendor. If AFSCME won the bid employees would be hired to perform the work.

    Of course nobody has really thought this through. Are they going to waive bidding rights? If not then you are just playing musical chairs and taking from one place and putting in another. What happens when the work is complete? Is AFSCME going to be happy that those employees then get laid off because the work is complete?

    This is an incredibly dumb idea.


  6. - Union Dues - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 11:54 am:

    Merit bonus doesnt work as intended in a politically influenced work place. It is typically bad for moral when you see patronage folks get the bonus.


  7. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    == “In fact, he has proposed expanding those protections by giving the union the right, it currently does not have, to be awarded a contract if it can meet or exceed the savings from private companies.”

    Can someone clarify what this means?==

    Pretty simple. If the Gov can find a low bidder, AFSCME members will have the option to either agree to a pay cut or lose their jobs.


  8. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    Skeptic has it right. I know from experience that a proposal such as merit increases are just a way for management to take care of their political allies, girlfriends, etc without any regard to merit, no matter how you dress it up.
    To - allknowingmasterofracoondom: where have you seen it work around the state in a political environment? What new economy are you talking about, the rule of oligarchs?


  9. - Captain Illini - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:00 pm:

    I think I’m starting to see the clouds part in the Gov’s strategy…solve the contract talks first…spare as much money as possible by shifting costs, limiting raises to “performance” measures and freezing salaries. Then, throw up your hands that you’ve done all and fold to a tax increase, thereby freeing up as much funds toward pet projects and slushy works as to create the next election campaign.

    Sort of a twisted “Art of War” - the worker of my enemy is my campaign platform…


  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:01 pm:

    @allknowingmasterofracoondom
    When you actually work in the public sector, let me know your thoughts. I work in the public sector and am also a taxpayer. I also have seen the governor’s proposals at contract negotiations, we’re talking about going back to the to the old contract language back when Walker was governor. They are also doing regression analyses on productivity without taking into account how one agency may process information for half of the other agencies. So please, spare me the “saving the taxpayer” BS already. Appointed managers he is starting to bring in are making $11,000+ a month just in compensation, that’s not including health insurance, pension, etc. So again, show me where it has worked in this state. Do not include trades like laborers, stationary engineers, etc because productivity in that regard is measured in a different way.


  11. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    ==would argue against merit pay as opposed to step increases.==

    In the public sector, the top folks are elected or appointed by elected officials. In the past, they would fire lots of workers at all levels and bring in all of their own people to fill the jobs. When the rules changed and patronage was limited, professionals moved into those former patronage jobs. “Merit pay” can easily become “favorites pay” and can be used to encourage people to resign, thus opening up positions for the folks who support the elected officials at the top. Its a workaround to bring back patronage.


  12. - Stuff Happens - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    My thoughts? AFSCME always starts these ‘the sky is falling’ campaigns that make them sound like kooks, but still have a hint of truth that makes you pause. Generally speaking, they shoot first and ask questions later.

    But on the flip side, does Rauner expect AFSCME to wait until he actually announces a policy/position against them? That would be too late. This is a pre-emptive strike, and Rauner’s not going to give them notice.

    If the AFSCME base starts calling ‘their leaders’, it could send a powerful message. 100,000 active and retired members (with family) is a strong lobby. But if AFSCME members don’t react then it kind of gives Rauner carte blanche.

    Merit increases suck. They did them for a while at University of Illinois. Top-level management all got decent raises and everyone else was given the minimum.


  13. - Very Fed Up - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    Don’t think you will get the public’s support in rallying against merit based raises that the rest of us in the real world get each year.


  14. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:04 pm:

    The Gov’s guys took the bait and brought the details of the negotiations into the public forum. No need to respond to a bulletin that only some union members would read.


  15. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:04 pm:

    To the post: Looking over the AFSCME and Rauner releases; I don’t see a lot of disagreement. They both say pretty much the same thing, just different spins. AFSCME is much more clear about the actual impact.


  16. - Anon. - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:05 pm:

    I’ll believe that the governor is serious about merit pay for the union when he starts giving merit raises or bonuses to merit comp employees.


  17. - hugh johnson - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    well I feel better now! this darned Union has been lying to me and wants to squander this wonderful deal from our loving and compassionate Gov. Rauner. Shame on you dirty Union who want me to be poor so I cannot pay their dues and they go under! thank you kind and gracious Gov. Rauner for not having any hidden agendas like the Union!!


  18. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    Another story from the news service that isn’t a news service.


  19. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    “Merit bonus doesnt work as intended in a politically influenced work place. It is typically bad for moral when you see patronage folks get the bonus.”

    Disagree! it is much worse when do nothing workers are guaranteed the same increases as the real performers and producers.


  20. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    =- Very Fed Up - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    Don’t think you will get the public’s support in rallying against merit based raises that the rest of us in the real world get each year.=

    If you were talking about true merit pay it might be different but in the public sector merit almost has nothing to do with a merit raise. But if you are a friendly, attractive female, as an example, you will probably thrive under that system..


  21. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    “Merit pay” = Six figure “superstars” and state paid personal assistants = not saving tax payers any money.

    Keep fighting AFSCME.


  22. - In 630 - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:13 pm:

    Pay/raises as a motivational tool are not terribly effective. There’s some argument even that money is actually hurts motivation. Intrinsic motivation is what gets people to perform. And, as noted by others, when the top of the org chart is political, the definition of “merit” can get political (and not in the office sense).


  23. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    =Disagree! it is much worse when do nothing workers are guaranteed the same increases as the real performers and producers.=

    Like the folks that perform real well on the campaign trail or produce a lot of fundraiser ticket sales revenue. This is typical blather from upper management types that want the power to control their employees..


  24. - illinifan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    Having been a merit comp employee it was frustrating to hear that I could not issue or receive a merit bonus due to (you pick the reason): agencies were allocated a set number of merit bonuses and that due to his allocation you or your staff person had to wait your turn, the paperwork was so complex to get a merit bonus that no one ever got them, even though you performed over and above the bonus amount was so small it was not worth it, etc. Merit comp often was an excuse to give little or no increases and not truly merit based.


  25. - Robert the 1st - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:22 pm:

    Strange, that “500% increase in health costs!” is now a 100% increase. Is no one tired of AFSCME’s “the sky is falling!” tactics?


  26. - Reality Check - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:24 pm:

    @Robert, Rauner has variously proposed both a 500% increase in out-of-pocket costs and a doubling of premiums. Try to keep up.


  27. - Joe M - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:34 pm:

    Neither the IPI’s “news” service or the Governor’s press release mentioned anything about health insurance or refuted AFSCME’s claims. And that is a, if not the major area to be negotiated. And whatever health insurance is negotiated by AFSCME and the Governor, is also what union and non-union state employees and their dependents get for insurance. And it is also what state university employees, union and non-union and their dependents get for insurance.


  28. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:36 pm:

    Allknowingmasterofracoondom–I get what you are saying. I worked for the private sector for 90% of my life. I would like to see performance reviews done for all state employees-just like the military. Basically you need to have a minimum score over a period of a certain amount of reviews to keep your job. That would address the competancy issue of public service. I have a problem with coworkers who sit around and don’t do anything. I get it. Of course my union would fight this tooth and nail. But here’s the deal about Merit pay. I know with 100% certainty that it would not work here in my state office. Bottom line, merit increases would go to the toadies and pets of the 2 managers. Favoritism is already rife in this office. Step increases eliminate favoritism, period. I know that if I stay I will on a reasonable schedule do a bit better financially. It’s not a lot, it’s a step. I understand that merit comp employees haven’t gotten a raise in years. I really don’t have a lot of sympathy though. You made the decision to take a non-union job. That’s your choice. I decided to take a job with representation. Could I have chosen another job? Yes, I could have continued to work in the private sector. I chose public service and those that I serve are getting the great benefit of my private sector experience. I think having been clergy, a hospice chaplain, Navy chaplain, directly benefits the poor, disabled, and elderly customers I serve each and every day. I think I, on merit, deserve my step increases. In my office and even my department I and my experiences and education are now not uncommon as well. In my room of 8 desks we have an M.Div, MSW, 2 M.Counseling, and four various Bachelors degrees. All 8 of us have the following steps. One step every twelve months.
    3891 4019 4147 4276 4467 4665 4857 5061 5263 5574 5797
    I bring a lot to the table for the State. I feel I deserve a step increase for what I bring. I do wish we would do performance evaluations just like the military to weed out the worthless workers and managers. I get it. But wouldn’t you rather have someone like me working for the state than the cheapest barely qualified worker?


  29. - Thoughts Matter - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:36 pm:

    Merit increases are a good thing - if you could actually get one. Our union had them, management took them away in the last contract. Seems they preferred across the board stuff because it was predictable. My evaluations were always above average, and now I don’t get rewarded at all because it would be rude to taxpayers to even give us a free lunch. Good thing I have an intrinsic need to have avoid work ethic.


  30. - Thoughts Matter - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:37 pm:

    Sorry. A good work ethic not an avoid work ethic. Spellcheck not always helpful.


  31. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    I think the hatred of Rauner is causing many to misread this whole merit-pay issue. If anyone knows Rauner or the type of person he is, they would know that he is NOT a patronage guy. Did some of his political people get state jobs that pay well? Sure. So do every newly-elected Governor’s people. Get past that, and you see a guy that ran to “shake up” things. You might not believe it, but he certainly does.

    Like it or not, to him, setting up merit pay likely means what it means in the private sector. Pay increases based on superior performance. The real fear is what it means to those that might work for him. Edgar, G. Ryan, Blago, Quinn. Those guys were all government insiders that had been in the system for years, and operated under the patronage system - some for decades.

    This is a new day in Illinois government, and, whether we want to hate him or not, my guess is that he really believes this is part of a solution. Rauner is not like any governor we’ve seen before. Good or bad, as long as people refuse to see that, they won’t understand anything this adminstration does.


  32. - Almost the Weekend - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    If this is true Rauner needs to spread this to tier 2 employees in AFSCME and make the argument that tier 1 AFSCME members are out for their own well being. Tier 2 employees have student loans, young families, and in a job where being more qualified is irrelevant because of seniority. That’s how you win this battle, not arguing with leadership, but starting the break between rank and file.


  33. - sickntired - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:42 pm:

    If people got hired, paid, and promoted based on their merit, wouldn’t that be a wonderful world? Unfortunately, the State has the political system fighting for the same crumbs as the union people. Both sides want to take care of their own and neither side cares whether the worker is worth a darn or not.


  34. - tweedle - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:52 pm:

    There are no merit comp increases - at least for 16 years - last raise available to non-union 2003 - I know that’s me


  35. - Mouthy - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:54 pm:

    The merit raise argument has been going on for years. I was arguing/bargaining this stuff 20 years ago. Nothing new here. Adios.


  36. - Union Man - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:56 pm:

    Which reporter has the courage to ask the obvious follow-up question: “Does the Gov consider step-increases worth keeping, even well into future contracts, or does he think they should be replaced?” Please do not answer it for him by referring back to their response; that does NOT answer this question.


  37. - xxtofer - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:01 pm:

    As a state university employee, I echo the concern about the health insurance costs. Especially since the Governor is already discussing shorting our budgets by double-digit percentages, it would mean no raise — merit or otherwise — to offset the costs he wants me to pay to be healthy enough to come to work. …….


  38. - Robert the 1st - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:09 pm:

    Honeybear- I must be misunderstanding your post… you get an automatic raise of $52,000 over ten years in addition to any raises your union negotiates?


  39. - Mama - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:10 pm:

    1.“Governor has proposed expanding those protections by giving the union the right, it currently does not have, to be awarded a contract if it can meet or exceed the savings from private companies.”
    Watch for keys words from Rauner’s people such as “if the union van meet or exceed the savings from private companies.” Notice it says nothing about the quality of work. Can the private company folks replace the knowledge the public workers have in performing their duties?


  40. - Mama - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:11 pm:

    2.Watch for keys words from Rauner’s people such as “Governor has proposed a temporary freeze until the budget is balanced and the State can once again afford to pay automatic increases.”
    Who determines when the state can afford automatic increases? What standards will be used to determine affordability?


  41. - Mama - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:11 pm:

    3.Watch for keys words from Rauner’s people such as “Governor has proposed that workers identified for layoffs could move into any open vacancy for which they are qualified before that vacancy can be filled by a non-state employee.”
    What standards will be used to determine a person’s qualification? Pay/benefits? Will they use an employee’s voting record to make such determinations?


  42. - Mama - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    5.“The Governor has also guaranteed that at least 25% of the state workforce will receive these performance bonuses every year of the contract.” This is what one calls Merit Comp!
    What happens to the other people whom are performing above average?


  43. - Niblets - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    I was exposed to “merit” raises while a state employee. The reality was and will be that merit is determined by political connection. Step raises are (unfortunately) much better than the alternatives.


  44. - DuPage - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:18 pm:

    The “merit” system won’t work out, it can be dictated from the top down. In one federal agency (30+ years ago), ALL the agents in the East were rated “above average”, and got extra raises. ALL the agents in the Midwest were rated “average”. It was obvious merit had nothing to do with the ratings. Basically, if you wanted more money, you needed to transfer to the East Coast. It also served to warn the agents already there not to get any ideas about transferring out, or their career advancements would stop. There was a shortage of agents in the East and the merit system was being misused to fill that regional shortage.


  45. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:24 pm:

    I was exposed to “merit” raises while a state employee. After I pointed out that my supervisor had given a promotion to a favorite without opening the opportunity to the small pool of people who were qualified and interested, my merit raises dried up. Each year, my boss would ding me and I had to take evidence of my collected accomplishments to my boss’s supervisor.

    I’m sure there are even more stories out there. I can imagine Bruce would love to be able to reward his “superstars” with raises while everyone else gets left behind.


  46. - Mama - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    “- Niblets - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:14 pm:
    I was exposed to “merit” raises while a state employee. The reality was and will be that merit is determined by political connection.”
    This is the truth.


  47. - the Other Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    @demoralized and @Pot calling Kettle:

    Thanks for your comments. Not to be peevish, I figured the part about AFSCME having to come in with a cheaper cost than the private entity. What I don’t understand is exactly how, procedurally, it works to have a union bid on outsourcing.

    A union cannot be the employer. So, it really cannot bid out services in the same way a private firm can, right? So how do you evaluate the bid? How can you hold the union responsible when it cannot exercise managerial authority? And how does this work when AFSCME already has a contract — wouldn’t they breach their duty of fair representation by saying that certain employees have to take a pay cut so they can bid on providing the service?

    Those are the questions (among many others) I meant when I asked for clarification of the proposal.


  48. - Politix - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    “The Governor has never proposed eliminating step increases. In fact, he has proposed a temporary freeze until the budget is balanced and the State can once again afford to pay automatic increases.”

    Ohh it’s just a TEMPORARY freeze. Just til the state can afford it. Sure. I’d love to see actual contract language for this because it’s not something I’d be willing to accept from a dishonest governor in the face of increasing insurance premiums. Freeze premiums at current while freezing wages and that would be something to consider.

    “The Governor has never proposed eliminating worker protections from layoffs. In fact, the Governor has proposed that workers identified for layoffs could move into any open vacancy for which they are qualified before that vacancy can be filled by a non-state employee.”

    They are already required to do this. It’s in our current contract. Based on seniority.

    “The Governor has never proposed a compensation system based solely on merit. In fact, the Governor proposed a bonus system that would include an automatic immediate bonus to every AFSCME employee before January 1, 2016 and additional bonuses to those employees with exceptional performance based on objective performance standards. The Governor has also guaranteed that at least 25% of the state workforce will receive these performance bonuses every year of the contract. AFSCME has made clear that it does not want its exceptional employees paid more for their hard work and outstanding performance.”

    The immediate bonus sounds nice. But anyone who has worked in merit comp knows there’s no guarantee you will get a raise. Many have gone years without a raise and then you have to ask and IF you get approved, you wait for months for approval from the gov’s office. I wonder - is the 25% guarantee for ALL workers both union and MC? This idea really isn’t all that attractive.


  49. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:43 pm:

    @the Other Anonymous:

    They aren’t bidding as “the union.” Think of it as bidding to hire employees.

    I’ve got lots of questions, just as you do. I’m not going to go into detail here but there are all kinds of considerations that are being ignored. For example, what happens to the employees hired to do a job once the job is finished? If you want to treat them just like a private contractor that had bid for the service then those employees should be laid off. And what happens if the work has to be cancelled? Lots of contracts have been cancelled lately.

    As I said, this is an incredibly dumb idea. I’m told, however, that other governments around the country are using this model. I would love to know how they are doing it.


  50. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:43 pm:

    @honeybear - great post, agree with just about all of it. I am in the private sector and also a public servant. In my public servant capacity (i don’t take a salary, stipend, or anything), we deployed merit pay. Our leaders through budgeting set the annual pay increase steps, usually 1-5% depending on our budget. We do actually do not only annual reviews, but also 6 month “check in” reviews on goals that include productivity, educational enhancement(which we pay for and encourage), mentoring, and goal achievement (we have each employee set goals at their annual review). The review is done by 2 managers. I am giving you a short version here, but we have done this for the last 6 years and the results are fantastic. Prior to this policy (and other private sector policy) our organization was a revolving door for employees, and patronage was rampant. Since that time, and it did take 2 years or so for buy in the results are gaining attention and we have received 2 awards on governing innovation. Our employee retention is at 98% annually. When we post for a job, we get to pick from the cream of the crop. People want to come work for us. Why? Because our policies encourage excellence and excellent employees want to be surrounded by other excellent professionals. The union argument against is is empty. They are afraid of becoming meaningless, expendable. It can be done. It requires courage and conviction.


  51. - Hard Working State Employee - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:47 pm:

    I have been a state employee for many years, working under many Governor/administrations. I started as a union employee, but went back and forth between union and merit comp positions. I can tell you truthfully that merit comp raises are ‘primarily’ given on a preferential basis and not necessarily on an ‘earned’ basis. I can say this, because the ’system’ worked for me under some adminstrations, and when I was not with the ‘right’ administration, I no longer got a nice raise although I continued to work as hard and smart as I always had. I understand there are union jobs and non-union jobs, but would it make sense to have all employees be granted a yearly (or bi-yearly) small cost of living increase (not based on a person’s actual salary, but perhaps have a formula), and then have an arbitrary panel of people (non-state employees/company?) whose only job is to conduct subjective evaluations of all employees with input from the supervisors, employees, and co-workers. Employees with exemplary ratings could be awarded an additional dollar amount. Simplistic, I know. I hate to say it, though, but this type of system would, unfortunately, probably/eventually be manipulated by the agency administrators for their personal favorites as well. Sigh.


  52. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:47 pm:

    Can honeybear please explain her listing of numbers? Is that the dollar amount (over 50k) he/she will receive over ten years for staying in her job? Wow - I hope I am misunderstanding what she was saying!


  53. - Mama - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:56 pm:

    Will the raises that people get be counted toward one’s pension?


  54. - Johnnie F. - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:03 pm:

    Honeybear’s numbers are monthly salaries for step 1 thru step 8. An employee move up one salary level each year.


  55. - JohnsDaughter - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:04 pm:

    Anonymous,
    Honeybear will not get over 50K. A person in that position makes 46,692 starting salary and will end up with 69,564 annually at some point. My experience is it takes longer than 8 years to get to the top salary. Also the union tries to get cost of living or inflation increases every contract but that hasn’t been successful lately so I don’t think any salaries will be inflation adjusted for this contract. So the increase is 22, 872 over 10 years which is less than 2000 a year with out inflation adjusting.


  56. - Johnnie F. - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    Sorry, Honeybear’s numbers looks to be step 1 thru step 11. It may take 11 years to make the top pay.


  57. - Robert the 1st - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    Thanks for explaining Jonhs & Johnnie. I guess I won’t be applying for Honeybear’s position after all.


  58. - CrazyHorse - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    It is unbelievable to the private sector that unions would argue against merit pay as opposed to “step increases.” This is a major problem with government employees - not only does it present a losing scenario for the tax payer, but it kills morale within their own ranks. It is fertile ground for the shovel leaner who gets paid for just showing up.

    They had “merit” raises when I began my employment with the state. 2 out of the 20 or so people in my office received them every year while the others got nothing. I will say that one of the gentlemen was a very hard worker and was deserving in my eyes. The other guy was as you said “a shovel leaner” but was a close friend of the supervisor so he was taken care of. The step system is fair in most aspects. I realize the stereotype of the lazy state worker but the truth is that the vast majority of the employees are good, honest workers.


  59. - pool boy - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    Maybe AFSCME could ask the teamsters if they could tag on to their health insurance plan. Solidarity.


  60. - Soccertease - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    I know from personal experience in state govt. that (1) the automatic step increase system breeds inefficiency; and (2) AFSCME is good at negotiating and protecting it’s workers including the bad ones. So, I understand where Rauner is coming from in concept. What’s the best practices in other (well run) states?


  61. - Small Town Girl - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:31 pm:

    In the years that merit comp raises were being given, employees were rated either “Exceptional”, “Accomplished High”, “Accomplished” or “Unacceptable”. Here is the kicker. Whatever category you fell into as an employee was decided a year in advance. So even if you worked your tail off your fate was decided. Also a certain number of people had to fall into each category regardless of performance. So if you had 100 people 2 of those people had to be unacceptable no matter what. Your percentage of raise was based on your category.


  62. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:32 pm:

    Actually, it seems to me some significant progress has been made. One, they are now negotiating money, which must mean based on past practices that language is agreed. Two, according to the union the administration was demanding a 400% increase in employee health care cost and now it’s down to something over 100%.


  63. - A Jack - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:40 pm:

    The military has raises based on years of service, basically a step increase by another name.

    Step increases are not automatic and can be stopped by management. However, management rarely stops step increases. These are the same managers that would be trying to figure out performance bonuses. So I don’t have any faith in replacing one non-working system with another.


  64. - Reality Check - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:49 pm:

    @Schnorf, you assume wrong. If language was agreed, this bulletin wouldn’t include language issues like privatization, layoffs and forced overtime.


  65. - tweedle - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:52 pm:

    Wonderful - non-political merit comp with no raises in 13 yrs. gets another ding from increased insurance deductions


  66. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:00 pm:

    RC, fine but then why are they talking money?


  67. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:12 pm:

    “workers identified for layoffs could move into any open vacancy for which they are qualified” That’s loaded too. Who decides what vacancy an employee is “qualified” to do? What is “qualified” actually mean? What’s to stop them from pulling a vacancy just before issuing a lay-off?


  68. - Bibe - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:39 pm:

    Don’t assume things are working like they have in the past Steve S. Rauner is shaking up Springfield if you hadn’t heard. Hard to reach impasse the old fashioned way.


  69. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:39 pm:

    No raise in 13 years? At all? One has to ask, why do you stay? Serious question.


  70. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:46 pm:

    - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:39 pm: Why do they stay? Because of the healthcare and pension benefits that have long vanished in the private sector….because it is unsustainable. Thats why.


  71. - DonaldTrump - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:47 pm:

    AFSCME Looks out for AFSCME, not the rank and file. Always follow the money with AFSCME.
    AFSCME Was a big supporter of the ACA. Now they don’t think that their members should have to pay for the resulting and predictable increases. Again, hypocrisy is the backbone of liberalism.


  72. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:47 pm:

    @allknowingmasterofracoondom
    I call BS on what you are saying. Very rarely does public sector jobs have a 98% retention rate and it depends on the positions you are talking about. There is a huge difference between non-profit, for profit, and government employment.

    “Excellent employees want to be surrounded by other excellent professionals…the union argument against is is empty…they are afraid of becoming meaningless, expendable.”

    Your argument is narcissistic and offensive to say the least. A government sub-contractor who is a for profit private entity is not government employment. Usually, they end up costing more in the long run for example private prisons.

    Even government contractors, especially on the federal level have rules and regulations on pay which you fail to mention.


  73. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:53 pm:

    @DonaldTrump
    And you think the governor has the best interest at heart with his employees? Sorry to say, liberalism brought down the cost of health care and introduced preventative healthcare. Now some companies don’t like being governed when they can’t crash the stock market and then ask the tax payer for a bailout. Now in reality, that’s hypocrisy with your “argument or backbone”.


  74. - Union Man - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:56 pm:

    @Donald Trump….3:47. If AFSCME does not look out for their members, then why has every members pay increased over the last five years? It’s verifiable by looking at employees salaries. Dues are fixed, not salary based, unlike state healthcare premiums.
    The hypocrisy occurs when people talk like they are well informed, but their own words prove otherwise.


  75. - DonaldTrump - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:21 pm:

    =And you think the governor has the best interest at heart with his employees? Sorry to say, liberalism brought down the cost of health care and introduced preventative healthcare. Now some companies don’t like being governed when they can’t crash the stock market and then ask the tax payer for a bailout. Now in reality, that’s hypocrisy with your “argument or backbone”.=
    Um, I think the Governor is suppose to have the best interest of the citizen of Illinois at heart. Clearly this conflicts with the best interest of AFSCME. That “liberalism” brought down the cost of health care is something that’s nice to say. But, reality shows just the opposite. You don’t notice because the good citizens of Illinois pay for most of yours.


  76. - Joe M - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:21 pm:

    ==Two, according to the union the administration was demanding a 400% increase in employee health care cost and now it’s down to something over 100%.==

    @ Steve Schnorf - pay attention, and try to keep up - an earlier post already explained that:

    “Rauner has variously proposed both a 500% increase in out-of-pocket costs and a doubling of premiums.”


  77. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:22 pm:

    Sorry I forgot to mention that the step increases I put down came only after doing a year as a Social Services Career Trainee for 39,600. I’m not complaining at all. I just wanted to give people a sense of what actually one of the better state positions pays. I think it’s important that folks have a better understanding of what we’re talking about.


  78. - DonaldTrump - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:26 pm:

    = If AFSCME does not look out for their members, then why has every members pay increased over the last five years?=

    Which has gone up more in those five year, rank and file salaries or AFSCME administration salaries? We both know the answer. AFSCME will never strike, the administration needs that dues money.


  79. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:29 pm:

    “The Governor has also guaranteed that at least 25% of the state workforce will receive these performance bonuses every year of the contract.”

    “Guaranteed”? Well, you see, Governor, there’s this budget thing that you first have to submit in a timely manner to the General Assembly. But you and your superstars would know all about that, wouldn’t you?


  80. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:52 pm:

    @Donald Trump
    Your viewpoint is what brings back “Hoovervilles” and increases the welfare rolls. You want to talk about shared sacrifice, back up your rhetoric with action already. Quit bashing people who disagree with you already.


  81. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:52 pm:

    - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:47 pm:
    I call BS on what you are saying. Very rarely does public sector jobs have a 98% retention rate and it depends on the positions you are talking about…..

    I am talking about FTE government employees. Now given we are a small group, a little over 50 employees but we are a full time group of municipal employees, not private contractors. The retention rate it true, one of the reasons we received 2 awards.

    And with regards to this:
    Your argument is narcissistic and offensive to say the least.

    Wrong again. Any good employee wants to be surrounded by other good employees, private, public, or quasi. How can anyone argue with that? Are you saying good employees/professionals want to be surrounded with losers? I don’t get what you think is offensive…


  82. - Any Mouse - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:53 pm:

    ==Pretty simple. If the Gov can find a low bidder, AFSCME members will have the option to either agree to a pay cut or lose their jobs.==

    Exactly, The State’s job is to provide services, not a jobs program. The objective is to deliver the most effective service at the least cost.


  83. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:54 pm:

    Someone isn’t telling the truth and I trust neither side. These closed door negotiations are B.S. Get it out in the open. Transparency might work wonders to move his thing along.


  84. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:57 pm:

    “The objective is to deliver the most effective service at the least cost.” Which is it? Most effective, or least cost? You rarely get both.


  85. - DonaldTrump - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 5:04 pm:

    =@Donald Trump
    Your viewpoint is what brings back “Hoovervilles” and increases the welfare rolls. You want to talk about shared sacrifice, back up your rhetoric with action already. Quit bashing people who disagree with you already.
    =
    You come on a mostly liberal blog so everyone will agree with. Tough to argue facts isn’t it.
    OK it’s 5:00, time to go home from your AFSCME job.
    P.S.: stop bashing me, please!


  86. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 5:04 pm:

    @allknowingmasterofracoondom
    Again, what types of positions are these? Are they unionized or non-unionized? Trades? Administrators? Engineers? Police? Fire? EMS? Are you apart of IMRF or are you not? On a final note, your human relations skills are horrible and reminds me of high school click gone bad.


  87. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 5:05 pm:

    @DonaldTrump
    Grow up already. This board doesn’t feed trolls.


  88. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 5:10 pm:

    - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 5:04 pm:

    Ok, I’ll ignore your insults and answer your question. We are IMRF. We have non union admin, PW, engineers. Police are union so they get their own special deal, just like all other union labor because they think they are so special.

    And we are successful using private sector management techniques in the public sector.

    This is an anonymous blog so I won’t detail it any more, and you don’t seem to be interested other than for purposes of hurling insults anyway. Feeling sorry for you and your cloudy disposition….


  89. - DonaldTrump - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 5:11 pm:

    =DonaldTrump
    Grow up already. This board doesn’t feed trolls.
    =
    It was so much better when everyone agreed with you and nobody asked those pesky questions wash it?
    It’s 5:10pm, you must be on OT……nice!


  90. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 5:16 pm:

    That’s not what your mom said.


  91. - DuPage Dave - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 6:26 pm:

    Tweedle is right about the treatment of merit comp staff in the Blagojevich-Quinn years. For all his talk about rewarding performance, however, Rauner has yet to reinstate the merit comp performance review system tied to pay increases.

    So still we are expected to provide the merit without the comp.

    Meet the new boss, etc. etc.


  92. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 6:41 pm:

    “- Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:36 pm:”

    I agree with everything you said. I have similar experiences to you in the private sector and three degrees and a CPA. I know worthless employees who are Friends with the manager and do nothing.

    I work very hard and would get nothing even thou my work load is a lot more and I complete everything on time and it never gets a negative comment


  93. - relocated - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 6:45 pm:

    I worked in a totally merit comp agency (non union) for a good portion of my time with the state. All it took was one change in the directors chair to see the problems with merit pay. The director has systematically fired or run off employees who are of a different party. He has has fired competent staff over minor disagreements. We were at will employees and thats the way it works. its one thing to run a small supposedly bipartisan agency that way but the union has the responsibility to protect against that sort of favoritism.


  94. - the Other Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 7:03 pm:

    Thanks @ demoralized for the explanation regardi.g bidding on privatized jobs. I’d like to see an example as well.

    It still doesn’t quite make sense to me. So, it can’t be individual employees bidding because most services require more than one person to deliver the service. So somehow the union must be involved in a managerial role if it’s delivering a block of workers.

    Furthermore, it sounds like a way to just have employees under contract accept lower wages if the bid is just for wages instead of delivering the full service. Kind of lends itself to an unfair labor practice, IMO. But I’ll try to find examples from other states, maybe that will clear things up.


  95. - Harvest76 - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 7:51 pm:

    Interesting position, governor. It’s BS, but interesting nonetheless.


  96. - reasonable - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 7:12 am:

    the Governor puts forward only part of the information, his proposal on merit bonuses is contingent on the legislature appropriating the money, no appropriation then no bonuses or he could line item veto those out of the budget, this administration is masterful at leaving out information


  97. - Muscular - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 9:58 am:

    Thanks for everyone who posted. I learned more from the comments than from the initial story. I appreciated the governmental insights. I now understand why the governor of Illinois is not the CEO of Illinois.


  98. - Been There / Done That - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    Realistically, both sides are lying. Merit increases do not create more productive workers. Merit increases only means you as a employee are liked by the those who award the increases. People who honestly work, will get more work dumped on them in the hopes of attaining a merit increase…it is SUBJECTIVE…. not OBJECTIVE. Production standards have very little bearing on those who rate their friends….there are always loop holes.


  99. - Littlevickie - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 1:03 pm:

    The problem with merit only raises (they have been done before) is that it is always based on who you know and if you are an a@@kisser. If you know the right people and your boss likes you, you get a better raise. Merit raises for rank and file employees don’t work. What you non state employees don’t understand is that these raises aren’t given every year you are an employee. There are so many steps and once you reach the top you don’t get any more step increases. What they do then is give you a dollar amount on one check of about 600 dollars (less taxes of course) and after that your Check goes back to what it was before nod they aren’t paying them right now either. My husband has been at the top for around 10 years and he hasn’t had this one time increase in probably three years or. Ore because there isn’t any money or the union contracts called for no raises. Try living on the same income for years when everything you need keeps going up.


  100. - Littlevickie - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    Sorry didn’t spellcheck before posting should say probably three years or more


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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