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This just in… Rauner: Parties at an impasse, “Further negotiation is no longer worthwhile”

Friday, Jan 15, 2016

* Press release…

After AFSCME Rejections, Administration Appeals to Labor Board
Labor Board to Determine if Parties at Impasse

SPRINGFIELD – Last week, AFSCME refused to seriously negotiate for the 24th bargaining session in a row on any of the core contract proposals presented by the Rauner Administration.

At the bargaining table, AFSCME made clear that they are unwilling to negotiate any contract similar to the ones agreed to by 17 other labor unions, which in many instances, were ratified by more than 80 percent of union members.

In the press, AFSCME described small changes to their proposal as “a big new offer.” The “big new offer” would end up costing the State billions over the next four years.

In response to AFSCME’s refusal to seriously negotiate, and in accordance with the tolling agreement, the Rauner Administration is now asking the Labor Board to determine whether or not the parties are at an impasse.

“While we have reached innovative and fair contracts with most unions and seen those contracts approved overwhelmingly by union members, AFSCME leadership unfortunately refuses to budge or offer reasonable proposals. We want to reach an agreement with AFSCME members, but their leaders have proven unwilling,” Governor Bruce Rauner said. “Instead of acting reasonable like the state’s other union leaders, AFSCME bosses have said no to merit bonuses, they’ve said no to programs to help minority employees, and they’ve said a 40-hour work week is too long. At a time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, AFSCME is pushing insurance and wage demands that would cost taxpayers more than $3 billion. As a result, we are asking the Labor Board to determine the next steps in the negotiating process.”

AFSCME vehemently rejected the Administration’s proposal to implement merit pay programs similar to ones welcomed by the 5 Teamsters and 12 other Trade Union bargaining units.

AFSCME vehemently rejected the Administration’s proposal that would maintain a 37.5-hour work week, but have overtime rate wages kick in only after completing a 40-hour work week. AFSCME rejected this offer despite the fact it is more generous than the 40-hour work week the Teamsters and Trade Unions ratified. Instead, AFSCME wants to only work 37.5 hours per week and immediately get paid overtime wages for any minute worked over 37.5 hours. They are also demanding double pay for regular holidays and even 2.5x pay for some “super holidays.”

AFSCME vehemently rejected the Administration’s proposal to make it easier to promote minority employees. Other unions welcomed efforts to promote minority employees.

AFSCME vehemently rejected a health insurance proposal that closely mirrors insurance proposals agreed to by the Trade Unions. Instead, AFSCME is demanding insurance that is considered platinum-plus under the Affordable Care Act. They are also demanding taxpayers subsidize over 80% of the cost of these platinum level plans, which is asking to pay silver-level premiums for a platinum-plus plan. Additionally, while the Teamsters agreed to maintain their current wages for the next four years, AFSCME is demanding wage increases that would cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion over the next four years. These demands come after many union members have already seen their salaries double since 2004. Illinois employees are now the third-highest paid in the nation – behind California and New Jersey - and the highest after adjusting for the higher cost of living in those states. Altogether, AFSCME’s wage and insurance demands would cost taxpayers over $3 billion.

Under the signed tolling agreement, the Labor Board must now determine whether the Administration and AFSCME are at impasse. During this time, the parties must adhere to all statutory obligations regarding good faith negotiations while the Labor Board is deciding the case. Quoting from the tolling agreement, this specifically means there can be no “strike, work stoppage, work slowdown, or lockout” until the Labor Board has determined that the parties are at an impasse. The Governor will comply with these and all other obligations regarding good faith negotiations.

Subscribers were told about this earlier today.

* Related…

* Gov. Rauner’s letter to all state employees

* Labor Board Filing FAQs

* Summary of Major Concessions to AFSCME

…Adding… From the FAQ

We would love to continue negotiating if it meant we could reach a deal with AFSCME. AFSCME’s actions at the bargaining table and their comments over the last week are strong evidence why further negotiation is no longer worthwhile. While the Governor has indicated he now shares the views of his bargaining team that the parties are at an impasse, today’s action simply asks the Labor Board to resolve this dispute.

More from the FAQ…

The tolling agreement that the Governor and AFSCME signed and renewed several times prohibits either side from declaring impasse unilaterally. Today’s action does two things. First, it asks the Labor Board to determine that AFSCME has committed an unfair labor practice by bargaining in bad faith. Second, under the tolling agreement, the parties can ask the Labor Board to decide if they are at impasse, but only the Labor Board can make a final determination. All that the Governor did this morning is to ask the Labor Board to determine if AFSCME has been bargaining in bad faith and whether the parties are at an impasse. Since the parties disagree about whether they are at an impasse, the only tribunal that can answer this question is the Labor Board. […]

During the debate over SB 1229, the Governor committed to continue to negotiate in good faith, and he has kept that commitment. At the Governor’s initiative, the parties extended indefinitely the tolling agreement that was initially set to expire September 30, 2015. That agreement requires both parties to negotiate in good faith. AFSCME has not been bargaining in good faith. […]

The Board will now determine whether the Governor’s filing properly before it and, if so, whether an evidentiary hearing should be scheduled. If a hearing is scheduled, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to this matter will conduct the hearing and, after its conclusion, receive the parties’ written submissions. After the ALJ has ruled on these issues, either party can appeal to the Board. The Board will then issue the final decision. […]

Under the terms of the tolling agreement, it is the Labor Board’s right to decide if the parties are at impasse, whether the State has presented its best and final offer, and when it can be implemented. The Governor will accept the Board’s direction on these questions. It is critical to mention that the last offer made by the State to AFSCME is virtually identical to the agreements signed by 17 other unions. These agreements were ratified in many cases by over 80% of state employees in those unions. This is not a radical or extreme contract as AFSCME has portrayed, but one that is fair, reasonable, and overwhelming accepted by large portions of state government already. It is also reasonable when compared to our neighbors: under the State’s proposal, state workers would continue to make over $20,000 more per year, on average, than their peers in Indiana and Missouri.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

114 Comments
  1. - deadguy - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    But you told us we weren’t at an impasse just this week? Can you even stay on the same page with your negotiators?


  2. - Anon - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:12 am:

    ===The “big new offer” would end up costing the State billions over the next four years.===

    Having state employees does cost billions in general. Creating a situation where you can’t recruit or retain decent employees also has problems.

    Didn’t we just hear about how the state lost tens of millions of dollars because they failed to handle paperwork properly?


  3. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:16 am:

    “Is anyone worried that using ‘vehemently’ four times in a row might make us look like hyperbolic, juvenile clowns? No? Okay…”

    – MrJM


  4. - AC - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:17 am:

    The letter to state employees is a fascinating admission that the Rauner administration went out of its way to deceive the press and the public regarding the status of negotiations.


  5. - Politix - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:18 am:

    Still waiting for AFSCME to share what their “big new offer” was vs watching the gov’s office slam it day after day. They’re playing an old-fashioned PR game of being respectful and not negotiating in the press and for that they are LOSING. MISERABLY. Wake up, Lindall! You’re not in Kansas anymore!


  6. - Trolling Troll - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:18 am:

    I missed the part about replacing everyone with subcontract labor. They must not want anyone to know that.


  7. - Politix - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:19 am:

    “AFSCME vehemently rejected the Administration’s proposal to make it easier to promote minority employees. Other unions welcomed efforts to promote minority employees.”

    C’mon man


  8. - deadguy - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:20 am:

    There are countless quotes from Rauner and his office that stayed earlier this week that AFSCME was wrong in their implication that an impasse had been proposed. Just a few days later, this is released. I think it is easy to see which side is being disingenuous.


  9. - deadguy - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:23 am:

    The implication that AFSCME is making it harder for minorities to get promoted is patently wrong.


  10. - AC - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    ==You’re not in Kansas anymore!==

    Politically, we are now in Kansas, attempting the same types of policies that failed there. Just sayin.


  11. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    Priceless how the Rauner folks can’t help but stretch the truth. Bottom line is that AFSCME didn’t cave on a majority of the Rauner takeaways and income reductions. Now Rauner is going to have his Labor Board rubber stamp his desire to impose an onerous contact on AFSCME and rejoice when AFSCME had no other choice but strike.

    Yes, the haters will rejoice. State employees will get screwed.


  12. - Huh? - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    AFSCME - In case you don’t know it yet, the deck is stacked against you and the dealer is dealing seconds and from the bottom of the deck.


  13. - Anon - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    ===Politically, we are now in Kansas, attempting the same types of policies that failed there. Just sayin.===

    The state is probably about to hire Laffer for 20k a month. Scare the legislature into budgetin’ the Turnaround Agenda.


  14. - Tired of it all - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    How does the retiree fit into all this? Will the retiree’s insurance stay the same or will it follow the final decision with AFSCME like in the past?


  15. - Anotherretiree - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:28 am:

    I was forced to have good thoughts for Rauner after his criminal justice comments yesterday. Glad that’s over !


  16. - Downstate - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:30 am:

    There’s a reason that the Mitsubishi plant in Bloomington-Normal wasn’t purchased by a union. Ditto for airlines that failed due to economic and union pension issues. After all, unions have the financial resources to purchase some of these companies a run a “pure” union company.

    The reason this doesn’t happen is that the economic interests of an operating business provides a necessary balance to union desires. Unions know this.

    But that’s the challenge in public sector unions. What is the economic “balance”? That balance, and even pushback, is necessary - otherwise you have politicians acceding to union demands - without any impact to them personally.

    At the end of the day, that’s the balance that has to occur before we get back to equilibrium.


  17. - Politix - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:30 am:

    “There are countless quotes from Rauner and his office that stayed earlier this week that AFSCME was wrong in their implication that an impasse had been proposed”

    They needed time to create action plans…errr confer with the Rauner-appointed labor board.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:33 am:

    “Objection!”

    “Overruled”

    “We strenuously object!”

    Hmm… “vehemently”

    Who’s kidding who here?

    That said,

    Elections have consequences, and AFSCME, good luck.

    I wouldn’t rally at the Capitol during the State of the State, Rauner is begging, pleading, for those optics…

    Don’t give Rauner his B-Roll of your protesting and the signs and chanting…

    You will lose in public opinion.

    Let’s see how “this” goes, but if y’all are printing signs and shirts to fill the Capitol during the State of the State, to chant so loud that Rauner can’t be heard… you WILL be helping Rauner.

    Don’t be fooled, you will be doing what Rauner wants.


  19. - Omega Man - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:33 am:

    Time for the guv to get slapped with an unfair labor practices lawsuit for his lack of good faith bargaining!


  20. - How Ironic - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:33 am:

    @- @MisterJayEm - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:16 am:

    To be fair, the superstars just finished watching “A Few Good Men” and decided that “strenuously” couldn’t be used effectively. So
    they went with the next best thing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOnRHAyXqYY


  21. - Thoughts Matter - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:34 am:

    Please inform the Governor that the state does not always pay 100% of the retiree health insurance premiums. It’s misstated in his letter.


  22. - Georg Sande - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:34 am:

    I know this space is devoted to a certain unmistakable ideology/partisan perspective, but exactly when does an impasse occur if not under these circumstances?

    Sometimes parties can’t agree, and maybe they don’t want to, but that’s life. Of course, that’s why there’s the dispute resolution process these parties will undertake. So to the false fire yelling crowd here … #GetReal


  23. - How Ironic - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    @ OW. Apparently great minds think alike. I had to get the link to youtube…you typed it out. Maybe I can walk-on next time as ‘Trover’ and shout ‘vehemently’ at odd times for no reason?


  24. - veritas - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    As a former negotiator, I would never resort to making my case in the press. But I was never trying to “win”. I was trying to get a fair contract and maintain trust into the future. The Governor only knows “win vs. lose”. You can’t negotiate effectively that way - and you certainly can’t govern effectively that way.


  25. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    As of last Friday when Rauner didn’t declare an impasse, there were no negotiations scheduled for this week. Did negotiations take place?


  26. - Questioning - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:36 am:

    I have to wonder why none of the governor’s proposals are never brought back to the members for at least consideration, if not a vote. Is it not possible to agree to certain things one at a time? Get the smaller things taken care of and then deal with the big things like pay increases and health insurance. Seems reasonable to me. It also seems AFSCME is not keeping its membership informed of what is actually taking place. They don’t seem to be telling the members the exact proposals on each point that is being negotiated. How about having a couple of reporters sit in on the sessions and report on the proceedings?


  27. - NoNameNick - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:37 am:

    Does anyone know if there are minutes kept to these bargaining sessions? if so who gets to see them? The labor board? FOIA request? Seems to me the flies on the wall in the room could add some clarity to these back and forth arguments. That is if the flies were non partisan of course.


  28. - cdog - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:40 am:

    These are expensive times for AFSCME. Negotiators get paid.

    Too bad the former fair-share people are most likely not contributing to this union expense, but obviously benefit with the higher salaries and decent benefits. What a two-fer.


  29. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:40 am:

    17 deals ratified by unions from SEIU to the Teamsters.

    1 outlier.


  30. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    ===most likely not contributing to this union expense===

    They are. Move along.


  31. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:42 am:

    ===1 outlier===

    Um, no.

    Several other unions haven’t settled yet, either.


  32. - Johnny Pyle Driver - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:43 am:

    So the way I understand this process is that essentially now the Governor gets to ask his hand picked Labor Board to rubber stamp his last offer right? Is that where this goes?

    Signed,
    Non-union with a non-union wife who has AFSCME health insurance


  33. - Gone, but not forgotten - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    I vehemently disagree with the implication that AFSCME is making it harder for minorities to be promoted. In my career as an AFSCME


  34. - Hullaballo - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:45 am:

    Questioning-

    The entire AFSCME bargaining committee is made up of members. AFSCME, like most serious labor relations experts, don’t negotiate in the press. Just because Rauner wants to go down that path doesn’t mean AFSCME is “hiding” anything.


  35. - Curmudgeon - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:45 am:

    Focusing for the moment on just one claim:

    …” These demands come after many union members have already seen their salaries double since 2004.” …

    The period from 2004 to 2012 were during the two contracts when Blago was increasing payscales twice a year. The sum of all these increases amounted to 36.5%, not 100%. Granted, some employees who’ve been employed continuously since 2004 HAVE seen their gross pay rates double, but that’s including not only payscale increases, but also annual step increases, promotions and reclassification of some positions to higher-rated job titles.


  36. - Gone, but not forgotten - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    OOPS - problem — to continue — In my career as an AFSCME employee, was passed over many times in favor of a minority. Ergo, I feel that is all they promote!


  37. - Crispy - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    @Omega Man: That would be something, at least. The administration has certainly violated the spirit, if not the letter.

    On a more general note, are Bruce & the Supes even capable of sticking to a consistent position or story (beyond “Unions=Bad,” that is)? It’s reached the point where I just assume every statement they make is a lie, and wait for evidence to prove me wrong.

    “By their fruits ye will know them.” Sheesh.


  38. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:47 am:

    Here’s the link to the CMS page with the text of agreed contracts:

    http://www.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/Personnel/Pages/PersonnelLaborRelations.aspx

    We all know that weren’t not going to find a new AFSCME contract, but can anyone find a new contract for any of the infamous 17 (trade) unions? I don’t see anything with 2015-2017(or 2018) or 2016-2017(or 2018). You would think that if the contracts were so great, we could see the text to compare with what the meanies at AFSCME are rejecting.

    Forgive me if I don’t take Rauner’s word an anything, his trust meter is woefully low.


  39. - not exactly - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:48 am:

    ===17 deals ratified by unions from SEIU to the Teamsters.

    1 outlier.===

    Incorrect - Their are at least 5 unions other than AFSCME without contracts, representing around 25,000 employees.


  40. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    Reading the documents carefully is an interesting exercise.

    Reading the list of concessions, I get a bit confused. While maintaining the status quo may not be a good thing, a lot of what they maintain are concessions are nothing more than agreeing to the status quo. I’ll admit there are a couple of items I would not have conceded. There are some others, from both sides, that just seem plain silly to me. And to the public who will read most of it as gobbly-gook, I’m sure all of it will seem crazy.

    I did find the switching between 3rd person and 1st person a bit disorienting in some of the FAQs. That removes the appearance of objectivity that we expect in such answers.

    Maintaining the $1000 bonus and 2% increase are the same thing is disingenuous. The amounts are different and will have different financial consequences. I understand they are trying to convey that, with both pensionable, there is a similar Fiscal impact on future salaries and budgets, but they phrased it poorly.

    While trying to talk all around it, the State is, in fact, doubling the health insurance cost for the current coverage levels. They also mislead somewhat on the health insurance; if we stick with ACA terms, it would probably be more accurate to call it a gold plan instead of platinum.

    From what I can see here, I’m guessing the health insurance is the major sticking point. If I was AFSCME, I would agree to the wage freeze in exchange for status quo or a slight percentage increase in the health insurance. IMO, minimizing the health insurance increases has more impact on the employees than gaining raises.

    That’s my 2¢ worth from reading the post. Now to see the comments …


  41. - Jeep - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    For this last contract that expired last June, AFSCME bargained up through March with Quinn with little progress until the end. Rauner gave up early claiming “bargaining in bad faith.” To quote George Clooney in the movie Intolerable Cruelty…”Come on, it’s a negotiation.”


  42. - Independent retired lawyer, journalist - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    The Declaration of War. Like most wars, it was already under way, now it’s official. The Board is Rauner’s rubber stamp. What happens after that will tell the tale.
    I commend to all OW’s thoughts that I’ll characterize as The Art of (this) War. I hope it works. Many peoples’ welfare is at stake.


  43. - AC - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:51 am:

    ==exactly when does an impasse occur if not under these circumstances?==

    When the Governor and his representatives at the bargaining table speak with one voice, first indicating that they believe they are nearing impasse, and after no progress has been made at subsequent sessions then decaring an impasee determination needs to be reached by the labor relations board. At the point of decaring an impasee, or the need for a determination, that declaration should be made cearly, lacking ambiguity or misdirection, with the same overall message being given to the union and the press. But that’s just me. Perhaps surprising AFSCME with this at the bargaining table, then creating confusion by telling the press something entirely different seems reasonable to you.


  44. - Trolling Troll - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:52 am:

    Norseman
    Good luck finding that. A lot of my DOT/teamster friends still don’t know what’s in the contract. They can’t find anyone who voted for it either.


  45. - Curmudgeon - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:53 am:

    == - Tired of it all - : “How does the retiree fit into all this? Will the retiree’s insurance stay the same or will it follow the final decision with AFSCME like in the past?”

    I expect that Yes, agreed increases in copays & deductibles will apply to retirees. However, I do wonder if Medicare recipients who are covered by the Medicare Advantage contracts will feel the full effect or whether Medicare rules might apply ceilings to some charges.

    Of course, those retirees who are paying premiums can also expect increases there, too.


  46. - Beaner - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    Dear Owl, We have a three day holiday weekend coming up. Any idea what will be showing on HBO?
    Dear CDog, AFSCME owes the Sham Governor flowers. AFSCME now has very few freeloaders.
    Dear Rich, How about reminding us of the Governors Collective Bargaining Dream. You have posted it twice in recent months. You know, it list out about eight things, so the only thing left to negotiate is the temperature of the thermostat setting.
    The Sham Governor is Vehemently Pro-Union…they are great for employee moral, planning Summer Picnics, Christmas parties and Boss’s Day Celebrations. And you can make a fortune investing their pension money.


  47. - jdcolombo - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    So this is very interesting. If the Governor imposes a new contract with changes to the health care coverage, then I assume these health-care changes will also affect University employees? If that’s true, then the universities are going to face a major problem when the faculty and AP’s go crazy about choosing between either (1) a serious reduction in benefits or (2) a very serious increase in costs. And if it is true that the State will continue to pay for retiree benefits regardless of the plan chosen by retirees, then that’s another reason for me to retire in May. Presumably my dependent coverage will be twice as expensive (if I keep the same insurance plan I have now), but not my own coverage. That may be a better deal than what I’d get staying as an active faculty member.


  48. - Madison - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:55 am:

    As I understand this contract either party can cancel it with 30 days notice. Why risk a ULP, when in fact, Rauner could simply make it go away. When the contract is cancelled, Rauner no longer is obliged to forward dues to AFSCME and they would starve themselves into submission or a shell of its former self.
    All this negative PR for what he plans to do anyway? What am I missing here?


  49. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    - Norseman -, well done!

    ===Dear Owl, We have a three day holiday weekend coming up. Any idea what will be showing on HBO?===

    “@FakeRonSandack” has tweeted during episodes, they are quite funny.

    Editors are probably workin’ on an Episode, but it’s only 11 am…


  50. - D.P.Gumby - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    We all know about people who have “Rauner Values”…


  51. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:06 am:

    Stuck between Rauner and AFSCME and I don’t know what side to believe. The truth always lies somewhere in the middle. When, if ever, will we see the middle?


  52. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:07 am:

    == How does the retiree fit in ==

    Not clear at this point. Suspect it will depend on which plan, platinum or silver ( to use the State’s classifications) they give the 20 year retiree it on Medicare. If the State tries to impose silver, probably another Kanerva type lawsuit. Some co-pay and deductible changes are probably fair game but the IL SC did express concerns in that area. Can figure the dependent cost is going up regardless. What will complicate this is there are two groups of 20 year retirees, under 65 and over 65. The over 65 group has already been pushed to Medicare Advantage programs, so there will probably just be minor affects to that group. The under 65 group is who gets the ’standard’ State plan and will likely be who is affected. It’s also a much smaller group that will have less resources to pursue a lawsuit.

    I should note a lot of ’state’ retirees do not get the (20 yr) premium free health insurance but instead are given the opportunity to buy into the offered insurance plans; this is mostly TRS retirees. They won’t, unfortunately, have much of a case to fight any changes because health insurance was not / is not, per se, a specific benefit of their retirement package.

    And if you are SERS with less than 20 years, expect a premium increase because the State is only committed to a sliding percentage level of support based on actual years of service.

    That’s my guess on how things will shake out for the retiree on health insurance.


  53. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    If “impasse” was a drinking game, we’d all be at Betty Ford.


  54. - upstater - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:14 am:

    I’m going to feel a lot of sympathy if it gets to a strike, AfSCME. So will a lot of other private sector workers (for the record I am a government employee but have many private sector loved ones). Betcha the people of Illinois will stand with you, too AFSCME. *snark*


  55. - Upstater - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:16 am:

    And no, I am not on government time today (and would be po’d at someone commenting on gov’t time)


  56. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:16 am:

    Rauner=Impasse
    On every single issue.
    Regarding this one - no difference.
    Impasse


  57. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:18 am:

    First sentence at 11:07 should read “not on Medicare”


  58. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:20 am:

    Two sides that live in their own world. One where any union is the main reason for the problems of Illinois. The other where there are an infinite amount of tax dollars for step increases, OT, and COL in pensions. First day of session in the Rotunda should be fun.


  59. - Wensicia - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:21 am:

    It seems like the state is heading into the perfect storm.


  60. - princess buttercup - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:22 am:

    I took a pay cut to take my current job title. So now he wants to give no raises for four years, and charge you twice as much for your existing healthcare plan. Less take home pay. My pension payment out my paycheck is MORE than what the state takes out for state income taxes. Every paycheck. Sorry i dont drink that koolaid. All proposed from a guy who hired a bunch of grossly overpaid people in his own office.


  61. - Honeybear - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:24 am:

    I just want to ask if posters could be respectful as we go into this labor unrest. This is going to be a horrifying time for a lot of families of public servants, mine included. Most of the folks I work with here live paycheck to paycheck, not because of financial irresponsibility but because life is more expensive. No one I work with drives a luxury car, has a large home, etc. The folks I work with are just solidly middle class working folks. The lucky ones have a spouse that works in the private sector. The ones that are really going to hurt are the younger single workers who are just starting out. God bless them, every one has said they won’t cross the picket. I ask that posters be respectful during this time. It’s horrific to face financial ruin. Please remember that you’re talking about fellow Illinoisans. I had sincerely hoped we wouldn’t be here.


  62. - Senior Master Trooper - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    Viewing all of this from the FOP angle, specifically Troopers Lodge 41, I am now quite happy that we, law enforcement, do not have the option of going on strike. When we are at an impasse, we go to arbitration—which seems fair to me compared to a Rauner-stacked Labor Board. We, of course, are having the same demands forced upon us—wage freezes, outrageous increases (100%) in health insurance costs with less benefits, etc. I foolishly voted for Rauner as I was angry with Quinn and the Democrats for not getting this state straightened out even with supermajorities and control of all branches of government. I though a change would shake things up.

    Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice…won’t get fooled again.

    Good luck to my brothers and sisters in AFSCME along with the other unions which haven’t settled. As for Troopers Lodge 41, it looks like we’re going to arbitration.


  63. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    Labor board chair Hartnett (Dem) term ends 1/26/16.


  64. - Dr X - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:31 am:

    So all those people who hate fair share are celebrating - the end is near for you.


  65. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:32 am:

    -Honeybear- @ 11:24am

    Very good post.


  66. - Earnest - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:32 am:

    Well, at least this will take attention off the hostages. /snark


  67. - Stumpy's bunker - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:33 am:

    I hope the media hounds and follows Ken Dunkin about his personal reflections on all this….that is, if he hasn’t already left for his Spain-Morocco Sahara tent vacation.


  68. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    RNUG, I agree with you that the Union should have said no raises for a 1-2% increase on insurance. That way everyone looks like a winner. I went many years as a non union employee without a raise, it really was not as bad as you think. The time and a half OT not starting until you hit 40 hours is not a big deal.

    The insurance to me was/is the big deal, I cannot afford a 400-500% increase.


  69. - Boss Tweed - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    ==I know this space is devoted to a certain unmistakable ideology/partisan perspective==

    Yeah, OK. As a lefty, I can assure you that I don’t see Rich at our Secret Socialist Soirees.

    Always welcome, though!


  70. - cdog - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    From exchange between Norseman and Trolling Troll, 10:52.

    “Good luck finding that. A lot of my DOT/teamster friends still don’t know what’s in the contract. They can’t find anyone who voted for it either.”

    With the impeccable truth not to be found in this administration, or transparency, this clue seems worthy of some INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM.

    Where are the contracts? When and how were the votes taken and recorded?

    Beaner, glad to hear flowers to Rauner for increasing membership, diminishing the number of fair share employees. A press release from AFSCME about that would be tons of fun.


  71. - Red eft - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:38 am:

    I see many comments about the Labor Relations BOard being a Rauner rubber stamp. Can anyone fill me in on how many are Rauner appointees and how many others are likely to side with him? Thanks.


  72. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    Looking at the Labor Board, I notice only 2 have been selected by this Governor. Is that correct and if so, would it not favor the union?


  73. - From the 'Dale to HP - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    Anyone think ripping a page from the political playbook of “picking unnecessary fights” is a good strategy?


  74. - Allen D - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:46 am:

    AFSCME is an old bag of wind that is just using old tired greed to squeeze more money out of the taxpayers that just isn’t and hasn’t been there for many years. It is time to change how business is done with a little more concern to how much things cost the State rather than what I hear around here “WHAT DO I CARE, IT ISN’T MY MONEY”


  75. - Allen D - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:47 am:

    well it is your money and my money and all the taxpayers money…. it is time to think responsibly for the bank book of the taxpayer


  76. - Pacman - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    Should have at least waited until after tax season to declare an impasse. If AFSME goes on strike who will process all those tax returns?


  77. - Allen D - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    If all these proposals are SO BAD for the AFSCME union, then put it to a vote and let us decide…. we deserve to actually vote on things this big, things that concern us and a union… but they must be scared that we would vote majority to listen the the Gov. because many of us think he is right.


  78. - Secret Square - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    “what I hear around here ‘WHAT DO I CARE, IT ISN’T MY MONEY’”

    Really? I’ve never in my life heard any state employee say that (granted, I work in a really small agency) and it would be a supremely stupid thing for any state employee to say given that they pay all the same taxes as everyone else, so it IS ‘our money’ too.


  79. - JB - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    As a former university employee I was not a member of a union but my health benefits were determined by AFSCME contracts One of the main reasons I was attracted to my university was because of the health benefits
    The bottom line is that universities use not only competitive salaries but also health benefits as recruiting tools
    I think if this Governor gets his way with this health insurance, universities are going to have a problem recruiting good people.
    Also, in regards to the health insurance this governor as making sure fellow Republicans “toe the line” with his “cadillac insurance” spin


  80. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    ===then put it to a vote and let us decide===

    If an impasse is declared, you’ll get a chance to vote on it up or down. Accept the governor’s last offer or strike.

    Happy?


  81. - Mama - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:55 am:

    ++- Trolling Troll - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 10:18 am: I missed the part about replacing everyone with subcontract labor. They must not want anyone to know that.++
    The admin. is already hiring subcontract labor when people leave, retire or get fired.


  82. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    - Allen D -

    Please understand what is happening, as you continually are confused about the Union you are a part of and complain you are paid too much.

    Sheesh


  83. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    Bruce saw the SCOTUS is ready to kill AFSCME regardless of what he does so he probably sees little risk putting all his chips in now.


  84. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    @Honeybear 11:24 +100. That is why I called you our ==Rookie of the Year== in Golden Horseshoe nominations.

    It was neat to see that @Rich picked up on it and made it a new category. You have set a high bar.


  85. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    ==I see many comments about the Labor Relations BOard being a Rauner rubber stamp. Can anyone fill me in on how many are Rauner appointees and how many others are likely to side with him?==

    http://appointments.illinois.gov/appointmentsDetail.cfm?id=165

    Rauner has appointed 2 of the 8 members on the Illinois Labor Relations Board, if that is what you are asking.


  86. - Finally Out (and now very glad to be) - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:07 pm:

    “AFSCME could simply submit our proposed contract
    to its members for a vote. I am confident it would be ratified by wide margins.”

    This guy and his superstars are completely delusional!


  87. - Secret Square - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:13 pm:

    “Rauner has appointed 2 of the 8 members”

    Has he reappointed others who were originally appointed by other governors? Also, is it really smart for ILRB to have an even number of members?


  88. - Rod - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    The Governor’s dream realized - the finial struggle against the union bosses. It doesn’t get any better than this!


  89. - justdoingtime - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:24 pm:

    I’ve worked for the state for over 16 year’s and have yet to be at work only 37.5 hours per week. I am required to be at work 15 minutes prior to my shift for roll call were pertinent information for the day is passed on along with required training as well as my assignment for the day.I then work from 3 pm to 11 pm with a 1/2 hour unpaid lunch break. So technical I work a 7 & 1/2 hr day, but I’m there for 8 & 1/4 hrs.


  90. - My New Handle - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:32 pm:

    Springfield business owners will love this.


  91. - Finally Out (and now very glad to be) - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:33 pm:

    RNUG @11:07
    Respectfully, minor clarification.

    Under “current” rules, those over 65 with “non Medicare eligible dependents” can keep a standard health plan as provided to active employees. Falling under those rules, I am able to continue my coverage with Healthlink.

    In the future though, I have no idea how that will play out.


  92. - Honeybear - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:34 pm:

    Thanks FKA, I really really appreciate it. I know that we’ve tangled several times but your support has reminded me that change only comes as result of the dialectic process and that the vast majority of Illinoisans are really great people and that the best ones as represented by the majority of posters on this blog are all passionate about wrestling out a better state. I’m so thankful that we have this space to wrangle.


  93. - Mouthy - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:34 pm:

    The war against AFSCME has entered another stage. I wish I could comment more but I missed the items the Governor has demanded.
    It get a lot worse from here regardless..


  94. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:35 pm:

    ==Also, is it really smart for ILRB to have an even number of members?==

    Good question. There are two panels as part of the ILRB. The State Panel, which has 5 members iirc, and the Local Panel.

    The State Panel ==has jurisdiction over collective bargaining matters between employee organizations and public employers such as the State of Illinois (excluding the General Assembly of the State of Illinois)==, so there should be an odd number on the panel that decides this. That is iirc.


  95. - Juice - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:36 pm:

    Secret square, to answer your question on the wisdom of an even number of members, the board consists of two panels. The three member local government panel and the five person state government panel. So yes, the board has an even number of members, but it’s the odd-numbered panels that actually hear the cases.


  96. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:42 pm:

    - Finally Out (and now very glad to be) -

    True. I fall in that category myself at the moment.

    I was trying to paint the broad picture.


  97. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:44 pm:

    @Honeybear - as am I. These are people, not pawns. While our previous $ behavior is no longer feasible, I still support unions on many things as well as the full payment of pensions.

    We don’t agree on everything, but we’re both unhappy with the childish way this state has been and is being run by nearly everyone involved as the state suffers.


  98. - Allen D - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    - Rich Miller -
    YES - I would most definitely be happy with a ballot vote on whether to take the contract or not… simple as that…

    - Oswego Willy -
    Sir, I do understand what is happening, IMO I feel that unions now are taking advantage of the systems and taxpayers and are not being fiscally responsible in their demands.


  99. - Mama - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    ++- Finally Out (and now very glad to be) - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:07 pm:++ I hope people realize the state union strikers do not get paid, and they will be required to pay 100% of their health insurance premiums (with no income).


  100. - Finally Out (and now very glad to be) - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 12:55 pm:

    Mama…From the last negotiation experience with Quinn and the ensuing vote authorization to strike, most union employees became aware that is the case. Can’t say all because unfortunately there are always some who have no clue what’s going on.

    If you’re referring to “people” that are not state employees, not sure if they care.


  101. - Pelonski - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 1:10 pm:

    While I think a freeze on general increases is a reasonable thing for employees to accept, freezing step increases and promotions is bad for both employees and the State. The nature of the State hiring system is to hire people at the bottom with low wages and then allow their pay to increase through steps and promotions. If you make it impossible for a new employee to get a raise for at least three years, you are only going to get short timers and poor performers. Quality employees aren’t going to accept no raises unless they start out at a high salary. Short of political appointees and certain professionals, that’s not going to happen.


  102. - Ostin - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 1:27 pm:

    Very good point Pelonski. I was waiting for someone to comment on general increases and step raises, two extremely different subjects when talking contract negotiations.


  103. - Blue dog dem - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 1:38 pm:

    ….forgot one on my prayer group. I am praying for the AFSCME negotiating team. Don’t forget your rank and file, they are not dummies.


  104. - skeptic - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:01 pm:

    Allen D: Why should there be a vote? AFSCME isn’t the one walking away.


  105. - CapnCrunch - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:02 pm:

    “How does the retiree fit into all this? ”

    CGFA is forecasting a 16.4% increase in the cost of insuring a MA plan retiree next year ($2464 vs $2117). Assuming the State pays the same share of costs(problematic), the dependent premium would increase to $128 for PPO coverage or $105 for HMO. However, the Administration has requested a little over $600 million less in appropriations next year than last. Add that number to the estimated increased cost of health care and there is a deficit of about $730 million. The question is ‘who pays?’ Retirees with 20 years or more of service credit are immune from premium increases but dependents are not and both could face higher copayments. According to CGFA forecast of FY2016 liabilities, Medicare Advantage Plans represent 6.21% of the liability or about $43.3 million. Assuming no increase in appropriations, this is the kind of money MA participants must pay.


  106. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:06 pm:

    RNUG…
    I’m a university retiree, but with less than 20 years service, so I pay a portion of my monthly health insurance premium, a little over $100. My pension is only about @20,000 a year, so I could actually obtain Silver level ACA coverage for about what I now pay for state coverage. And if state premiums double, then I definitely could get cheaper coverage though ACA. The catch is that ACA subsidies are unavailable if you are eligible for insurance coverage through work. For purposes of ACA, is the availability of insurance for state retirees disqualifying?


  107. - Allen D - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:27 pm:

    because so many believe that ALL AFSCME union members are rank and file against the Governor policies and what he is trying to do … That isn’t the case, AFSCME is blanketly not negotiating in good faith, they are IMO hanging on to the cash grab of the old days… so if they believe that everyone in AFSCME would not take the new contract then have a vote and see actually what the members say rather than dictating to us that this is what we will take or nothing….


  108. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    “- Allen D - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:27 pm:”

    There you go again ck.


  109. - Sayhey - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:41 pm:

    Illinois Labor Relations Board

    Name: Michael Coli
    Position: Board Member – Illinois Labor Relations Board
    Governor Bruce Rauner has reappointed Michael Coli, 62, to the Illinois Labor Relations Board. Coli has served on this board since 2006.
    Coli previously served as Trustee and President of the Teamsters Local Union No.727. During his time there, Coli negotiated contracts, supervised business agents, oversaw grievance and arbitration cases, and handled Labor Board hearings, elections, and changes at a federal and local level.
    He has been an active member of many boards and committees including the Parking Industry Labor Management Committee, Turnberry Country Club and the Racing Industry Charitable Foundation.

    Name: John R. Samolis
    Position: Board Member – Illinois Labor Relations Board
    Governor Bruce Rauner has selected John R. Samolis, 68, to the Illinois Labor Relations Board. Samolis brings over 30 years of human resources experience to the board.
    Samolis is currently the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Exelon. His duties include employee and labor relations, talent management and labor strategy. Previously, Samolis spent 18 years with United Airlines where he ultimately served as Vice President, Labor Relations and Vice President, People Services. He was responsible for interactions between the company and the unions that represented more than 55,000 employees. He was also responsible for oversight of employment, diversity, international personnel and training for employees nationwide.
    Samolis earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from John Carroll University.

    Name: Keith A. Snyder
    Position: Board Member – Illinois Labor Relations Board
    Governor Bruce Rauner has selected Keith A. Snyder, 55, to the Illinois Labor Relations Board. Snyder currently serves as the Mayor of the City of Lincoln, a community of 14,500.
    Snyder also serves as the Associate Vice President at Lincoln Christian University, managing endowment fundraising along with developing monthly performance review processes for the school.
    Previously, Snyder worked as a procurement specialist for State Farm Mutual Insurance Companies and an ethics officer for the Illinois State Senate. He also served as a board member of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board for six years under Governor Jim Edgar.
    Snyder earned his bachelor’s degree in political studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and he earned his master’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University.


  110. - Allen D - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:49 pm:

    - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    and whom is this ck you are referring to sir. I think you must be confusing me with someone else, I, as I have stated in many other threads, am a state employee and full AFSCME voting member, (a whole 2 dollars difference from FAIR “steal my money” SHARE) I have been with the state for 8 years and have my own opinions on what is fair and what is greed.


  111. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 2:55 pm:

    -Anonymous- @ 2:06 pm

    I don’t know the answer to that.

    Not knowing your family size / circumstances, any chance you are eligible for Medicaid? My son and family ended up there because they couldn’t afford health insurance through the employer.


  112. - Red eft - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    Sayhey–The people you identify are part of the State Government panel? What can you tell us about the other 2 members? For those of you who say the Board will rubber stamp the governor’s position, what is the basis of the statement?


  113. - Sayhey - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 3:45 pm:

    The other 2 are Albert Washington and John Hartnett but his term expires on 1/25/2016.


  114. - walker - Friday, Jan 15, 16 @ 4:08 pm:

    Is it normal practice for management to announce to the press that they are not at impasse one day, and then to request the Labor Board to declare an impasse the next?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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