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AFSCME: “It is time for these seven House Republicans to move beyond rhetoric and take action”

Monday, May 30, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From AFSCME Council 31…

At the end of last week, seven House Republicans sent a letter to our union and to Governor Rauner, urging the governor to come back to the bargaining table and resume negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement for the 38,000 state workers represented by AFSCME. The governor has refused to even meet with our union since he broke off talks on Jan. 8, and “this stalemate will continue to hurt all interested parties,” the representatives wrote.

In the public interest and in the interest of fairness, AFSCME immediately reiterated our union’s willingness to participate in renewed negotiations. We also urged the lawmakers to support their statement with action by committing to enact a fair arbitration process if the governor again refused to negotiate. Giving all state employees the same option of an impartial arbitrator to help settle differences between the parties—a process in place for tens of thousands of public safety personnel statewide for more than 30 years—would encourage a negotiated resolution and ensure against a harmful strike if no such resolution could be reached.

But the very next day, Governor Rauner’s office rejected the legislators’ letter and again falsely attacked our union, an occurrence that has become all too commonplace. This morning, the Republican Party’s political apparatus sent a press release echoing many of the same false attacks.

It is extremely regrettable that the governor is unwilling to bargain. It is outrageous that his party is distorting the facts to try to score political points at the expense of public service workers.

Now more than ever, Illinois and its people need serious governance, not political stunts. Governor Rauner’s refusal to negotiate is yet another failure of leadership. His party’s readiness to bolster his confrontational posture toward his own workforce in the midst of one of the biggest crises our state has ever confronted shows how disordered its priorities have become.

Lawmakers of both parties say they want a negotiated settlement that is fair to all. That is what AFSCME members have always sought, but we cannot do it alone. Since the governor refuses to negotiate, it is time for these seven House Republicans to move beyond rhetoric and take action by committing to vote to reject partisan politics, embrace responsible governance and enact the fair arbitration bill.

* From the IL GOP earlier today

Days after passing a $7 billion budget deficit, the largest in Illinois history, House Democrats may reconsider a motion to override the Governor’s veto of HB580, a bill the Herald & Review says would have a $3.6 billion cost to taxpayers. With only hours left in session, Democrats in the General Assembly would rather pass bills that force massive tax hikes instead of a balanced budget with structural, job-creating reforms for state government.

HB580, a reincarnation of SB1229, would remove Governor Rauner from the negotiating table with public employee unions for the duration of his first term in office and put in place an unelected, unaccountable arbitrator who would have the power to force a massive $3.6 billion tax hike on Illinois families. Even though the motion failed to muster enough votes to pass twice, the House may consider it for a third time. […]

“House Democrats, why can’t you take no for an answer?” said Aaron DeGroot, Illinois Republican Party spokesman. “Instead of voting to force massive tax hikes on working families for the umpteenth time, come to the negotiating table and fulfill your constitutionally-mandated duty. Choose Illinois over Mike Madigan and pass a balanced budget with job-creating reforms to state government. Illinois is counting on you.”

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  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:17 pm:

    I’m so glad AFSCME isn’t fooled by “The 7″

    Dear “The 7″,

    Arguably one of the most hair-brained, foolish things to do is to highlight where you lack.

    Your ridiculous letter does that. I’m a lil embarrassed for you “7″, but when AFSCME recognizes what is seen by many, my hope is y’all will learn that voting according by being “Red” or “Yellow” or even a NV…

    Votes have consequences.

    All of Labor will be watching. You already know that “The 7″, otherwise you’d never try such ridiculous theatrics that lack… something genuine.

    There will be some November “Voting Accordingly”… Letters like yours highlight the need to do so more than March did.

  2. - John Rawls - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:19 pm:

    Well, perhaps AFSCME should drop its ridiculous demands for double digit pay raises and cadillac health insurance. IL state workers are already the highest paid in the nation.

  3. - Norseman - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:20 pm:

    Letters won’t cut it folks. Your votes have spoken louder than your letter. Thus we’re going to vote accordingly.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    - John Rawls -

    Explain the differences between AFSCME’s medical, and, let’s say, the Teamsters’ plan that was agreed to?

    Seriously, are you clueless. Yelling at clouds is best done outside. No one is on your lawn.

  5. - Eugene - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    The seven - or specifically, the four of those seven facing opponents in November - should remember how Rauner’s millions couldn’t save Bryce Benton or Ken Dunkin.

  6. - John Rawls - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:23 pm:

  7. - One of Three Puppets - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    You will have yet one more chance to show if this was a CYA letter or a sincere effort. Not many people get multiple chances like this. Some make the best of another chance, others (like my sibling-still love you though) seem to squander them. Be smart.

  8. - John Rawls - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    “The Teamsters agreed to a wage freeze, the implementation of a bonus system for employees meeting or exceeding expectations, and additional flexibility in work rules. In addition, the state agreed to pay an additional portion of Teamsters’ health care costs, in exchange for members being responsible for any increased health care costs above 10 percent that may occur cover the course of the contract.

    Other groups, such as the building trades unions, agreed to continue receiving prevailing wages, which may rise or fall depending on local economic conditions, and agreed to merit pay and flexible work rules.

    AFSCME, on the other hand, is demanding guaranteed four-year raises ranging from 11.5 to 29 percent, a 37.5-hour workweek, five weeks of vacation and enhanced health care coverage. Those demands would cost Illinois taxpayers $3 billion more than what the state is proposing. “

  9. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    I think they should try the override vote again, to test the sympathetic GOP members’ support and to put their names definitively on another vote.

    Let them put their votes where their mouths are.

  10. - Annonin' - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:25 pm:

    Did Yaffe get yanked — again?
    BigBrain must be so proud of how the GOPies are usin’ the $5 million rental payment. Much better than the individual payments like ‘15. Anyone else hear the news Gonzo headed to GOPie HQ for summer intern gig. Hide the credit cards :)

  11. - One of Three Puppets - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    John Rawls-Citing policy institute propaganda will not help you win an argument with people that actually know who funds them and what they are all about.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:27 pm:

    - John Rawls -

    Was AFSCME offered the same deal?

    What about the same health insurance option.

    Can they be offered the same?

    IPI must be proud of your pushing of the alleged Rauner Rebuttal

  13. - John Rawls - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:29 pm:

    Oswego, tell us where the IPI analysis is wrong

  14. - Sue - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:30 pm:

    Actually it’s time for the Union to recognize the Stste has nothing in its coffers and to actually propose a realistic offer- instead of continuing to run to the legislature for protection

  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:31 pm:

    - John Rawls -

    Use the search key, it’s discussed here every day.

    If you’re just going to tick off dot points you’re wasting everyone’s time.

  16. - Thoughts Matter - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    John Rawls - a 37.5 hour week has been standard for years - many large office environments in the private sector have it too. The 5 week vacation is for those with 25 years of service. That’s also standard for large companies in the private sector. My first full time private sector job offered those in 1978. Those aren’t ‘demands’ because they have been offered by the state for years and state non- union workers already get them too. Please get your news from a non-biased source.

  17. - One of Three Puppets - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:36 pm:

    Anyone find it humorous that DeGroot said the dems should come back to the bargaining table in his press release discussing HB 580 (a bill that is intended to bring the Governor back to the table to negotiate). Going back to the Benton days, DeGroot never let hypocrisy get in the way of being an utter tasteless hack.

  18. - Thoughts Matter - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    Also John Rawls- the state is 18 months behind in paying the medical bills of their union and non union employees ( the state is largely self insured). You still think the health insurance is Cadillac level? Maybe you’d like your insurance company to start doing that?

  19. - Cleric dcn - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:39 pm:

    Illinois workers are not the highest paid that is simply incorrect check facts. It would seem that to the end the best thing would be if the state simply shuts down and sends workers home. Rauner needs to explain how the collective bargaining going out the door will all of a sudden find the 5 billion to balance the budget? That figure has not been put forth. Better yet buy a company and get rid of all the workers hire in new that work for minimum wages. This is venture capitalism at it best. The rich keep getting richer the poor suffer.

    Working for government in policy based programs means that person has inside information that is not easy for the average person to understand. Making those jobs less desirable will lead to no loyalty and cuts in federal funding. The cost to have errors in programs that get federal reimbursement is big time.

    The high salaries are going to Rauner’s appointments who have not done a thing positive except leave after dysfunction.

  20. - Demoralized - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:42 pm:

    Ignore John Rawls. The minute someone quotes the IPI is the minute they lose all credibility.

  21. - John Rawls - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:43 pm:

    To the work week/vacation time - notice we’re not discussing whether the facts are accurate, but our interpretation on what is a just contract. No one has pointed out how the IPI analysis is wrong. We can reasonably debate the work week and vacation time. (However, I think its not unreasonable to say that 5 weeks is a little too long…) I’m sure there would be many people in IL, with our unemployment rate so high, who would be willing to take a 40 hour work week at 3 weeks vacation time…

    To the medical bills being paid on time. Perhaps the blame should be placed on those cough cough madigan cough that have run this state into the ground?

  22. - John Rawls - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:44 pm:

    @Cleric, they are when you account for cost of living. The nominal salary is irrelevant, what matters is purchasing power.

  23. - AC - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:48 pm:

    ==No one has pointed out how the IPI analysis is wrong==

    Do you mean the one that presumes state employees are all in Springfield and erroneously applies a cost of living adjustment factor based on that erroneous assumption?

  24. - JS Mill - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:48 pm:

    =To the medical bills being paid on time. Perhaps the blame should be placed on those cough cough madigan cough that have run this state into the ground? =

    At John Rawls- How was that going before Rauner got into office?

    Also, exactly Which one of Rauner’s proposed budgets (just his constitutionally required duty) was balanced?

  25. - JS Mill - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    @John Rawls- Does the IPI have any of analysis comparing Kansas to Minnesota? Illinois to Minnesota? You might find that interesting if it existed.

  26. - Demoralized - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:50 pm:


    You familiar with how a negotiation works? You’re asking AFSCME to give up everything. What do they get in return?

    Also with the exception of asking for raises, which i agree is wrong, they are pretty much asking for status quo. To argue that what they are asking for is going to cost 3B more is disingenuous. Its status quo

  27. - Anonymous - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:51 pm:

    @John Rawls –I know facts don’t matter for some, but humor me….ask the IPI how much MORE the state is paying for the Teamsters’ health care. While you are at it, maybe you should read up on what “prevailing rate” is, since it’s what the Governor agreed to for the building trades unions….Finally, check out the results of the INA ratification vote when their members voted on the existing proposal made to AFSCME…

  28. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    AFSCME keeps pushing for these defeated override bills to circumvent the process that has been in place for many years.

    As with those House GOP calls, sometimes =pressure= does not help move the ball forward if it is applied at the wrong time. This is in the hands of the ILRB now.

  29. - One of Three Puppets - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:53 pm:

    The point was made a few times that anyone that uses IPI info be ignored. Can we adhere to that and make our lives less stressful because we are engaging in shadow boxing.

  30. - Thoughts Matter - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:55 pm:

    The state vacation policy for a new hire is 10 days a year until after the fifth year, when you earn 15 days a year, it gradually increases over time. So, there is one ‘fact’ that IPI is inaccurate about.

  31. - 360 Degree Turnaround - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    Come on House Republicans, break free of Rauner’s shackles!

  32. - Pelonski - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 3:00 pm:

    For starter’s, we have no direct knowledge of what AFSCME offered because contract negotiations are done in secret. AFSCME has continually said that this information from IPI is inaccurate. You are asking people to refute numbers from a right wing propaganda organization which are unverifiable.

    Even if the information is correct, however, that was the union’s first offer, not their final one. It’s a pretty poor negotiation strategy to start off with your final offer from the get go. AFSCME has repeatedly stated that it is still willing to make compromises.

    Finally, while there are many people who would be willing to take state jobs with 40 hour work weeks and 3 weeks of vacations (which is more than new employees get), the lack of qualified applicants willing to do that is actually pretty small. You won’t find many qualified accountants who are willing to work for $40,000 per year with limited potential for pay raises over the next three years.

  33. - Union Man - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 3:03 pm:

    THE highest paid state employees are not in ANY union.
    AFSCME agreed to no raise the first year, agreed to a drop from 2.5% raise to 2.15% raise in year two.

    There were 7 reduced union concessions on the table presented to CMS when the Gov ordered CMS to quit negotiating!
    Anyone ever wonder abt that walkout and the firing of former CMS Director Tyrell?? Hmmmm?

  34. - RNUG - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 3:04 pm:

    - John Rawls -

    It’s already been pointed out that the insurance offered AFSCME is different form the other agreed to contracts. Heck, some of those contracts even have clauses that if AFSCME gets a better insurance deal (not likely to happen), they get it also. The Teamsters have had their own insurance program; pointing to it as an example doesn’t cut it.

    As far as a lot of the “asks”, they are the same items that have been in the contracts for many years; nothing new. It’s legitimate to try to claw some of them back, but to characterize them as “new” union wants is an outright lie.

    Have you been talking to people who were in the room and listening to the State reject offers to freeze salary in exchange for maintaining health insurance? Were you there when various concessions were offered in exchange for specific items and the State said “no” to every one? Right now I’ll believe my sources over the IPI spin.

    If you’ve taken the time to read what I’ve wrote just this year, let alone other years, I’m not necessarily a friend of the unions. I’ve got my list of items I want to see changed. But they exist for a reason, to protect people from 19th century robber barons.

  35. - CrazyHorse - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 3:27 pm:

    Everyone just play some Lou Rawls. He is much easier to listen to than John.

  36. - kitty - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    Mr. Rawls, IL State employees are not overpaid taking into account required education and experience. Over the last 2 decades under Dem and GOP administrations alike, IL has outsourced a very large number of lower paid facility maintenance and social service functions; the same ones that Mr. Rauner is holding hostage and refusing to pay for work already performed. This statistically “skews” measures of mean, median and mode salaries. Additionally, IDOC and IDHS incurs significant overtime costs due to inadequate staffing. IL has the fewest or 2nd fewest State employees per capita, doing “more with less” is the rule, not exception. Rauner has not provided any evidence that eliminating collective bargaining for state employees would significantly reduce costs, nor has he demonstrated that carte blanche private outsourcing would serve the best interests of public accountability and outcomes for all stakeholders. Mr. Rauner has not bargained in good faith with AFSCME and his plan from day 1 has been to force a strike or declare an impasse to unilaterally implement his agenda. Madigan, Cullerton and the Dems are not without significant blame, but they are right to not permit the hostage taker governor to destroy organized labor in the name of a widely unpopular agenda for which there is no mandate.

  37. - Gr8dane - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    In reference to the 37.5 hour work week–We state employees only get paid twice per month and not every other week. Therefore, yes, the “week” consists of 37.5 hours, but the pay period is more than 10 days (on average). A pay period is 81.25 hours (average out the year) and not 75 or even 80 hours. So, if we should go to 40 hours per week, we should then get paid every other week.

  38. - illinois manufacturer - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 3:58 pm:

    John Rawls sounds more like Robert Nozik or Ayn Rand.

  39. - illini - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 4:00 pm:

    Terrie Bryant should be aware that her votes and positions are being noted. Signing this letter does nothing to mitigate her prior positions on this or many other issues.

  40. - Power House Prowler - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 4:06 pm:

    You start out with Zero vacation. After one full year you will have ten days to use, if you didn’t take any hours for vacation. You continue earning 10 days a year for the first five years. 25 days of vacation is earned after 25 years of service. Should there be no reward for loyal service?

  41. - Bulldog58 - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 4:08 pm:

    - John Rawls -
    IPI has received funding from Gov Rauner.
    Rich can probably clarify this but I believe their bias reporting has kept them from receiving press passes as they are recognized as not being a true media outlet, rather a propaganda arm of the GOP.
    No one has pointed out how the IPI analysis is wrong because they do a good job of that themselves.
    Quote the IPI or use them to source data and one quickly loses credibility.

  42. - One of Three Puppets - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 4:10 pm:

    see previous posts……….

  43. - jw - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 4:30 pm:

    Mr. Rawls could you please tell us what planet you came from? Someday marijuana will become legal and I for sure do not want to go there

  44. - Amalia - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 4:34 pm:

    so what are the races and the prospect of the “7″?

  45. - Tough Guy - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 5:03 pm:

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to try to bring a similar bill up for a vote again especially since the “7″ have, what you might call, “renewed interest” i.e. a last minute attempt at damage control. After all, the Republicans in Congres have tried to repeal the AHCA 60+ times. But I guess that is OK with the ILGOP.

  46. - RNUG - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 5:07 pm:

    One is Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (99th House) in Sangamon; she was appointed to Raymond Poe’s seat after previously being chief of staff to Illinois first lady Diana Rauner.

    IF, and that’s a BIG if, AFSCME can get the state employees, teachers, and other unions in her district to pay attention, she might have a fight. But the odds are she’s going to coast to election by being well known (from news reporting locally) and an R in a solid GOP district.

  47. - Amalia - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 5:23 pm:

    Thanks for the update, RNUG!

  48. - Dandy Edward - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 6:07 pm:

    Thoughts matter, I know of know one in the private sector that can work a 37.5 hour work week. I am old enough to have worked for 5 comapanies and no one ever offered it. Name one company that has this.

  49. - McLroy - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 6:13 pm:

    Davidsmeyer is not opposed and would easily dispatch any opponent.

  50. - Gr8dane - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 6:21 pm:

    Dandy Edward–did you get paid every 2 weeks (80 hours)?

  51. - Anonymous - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 6:24 pm:

    @ Denny.

    Give me my scheduled service increases and double my employee portion on medical once for the length of my career and I’ll work 45-50 hour weeks. Sure there’s a lot out there that would agree.

  52. - kitty - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 6:29 pm:

    Amalia, Adam Brown is not running for re-election in IL 102. Brad Halbrook, a Rauner backed candidate, won the primary and will likely win the general election, possibly unopposed. Mr. Halbrook was appointed to serve the balance of the term of Roger Eddy in IL 110 in April, 2012.

  53. - Anonymous - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 6:32 pm:

    “- Dandy Edward - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 6:07 pm:”

    People used to work 9 to 5 with an hour lunch

    You should know better

  54. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 7:55 pm:

    If you are going to feed the trolls, feed them cigarettes.

  55. - Former hillrod - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 8:10 pm:

    I worked retail at the mall for many years. My work week averged 38 hours per week. I had one week vacation per year for the first 2 years, Two weeks after 2 years and 3 weeks after 5! The. It was 4′weeks after 15 years and 5 weeks after 25. Not much different than what state employees her. What is so extreme about that? The governor and his allies are being disengenuos at best.

  56. - Former hillrod. - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 8:13 pm:

    Auto correct butchered my post. My apologies.

  57. - Former hillrod - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 8:16 pm:

    From what I undwestand state employees have worked 37.5 hour work weeks for decades. The governor and his allies need to stop with their ridiculous claims about how extreme that is. It’s been the norm for a long time. Cut the junk.

  58. - Amalia - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 8:35 pm:

    thanks Kitty!

  59. - lost in the weeds - Monday, May 30, 16 @ 11:09 pm:

    manufacturing plant - three shifts in 24 hours. That would be 8 hours per shift. Throw in a half hour lunch and in a 5 day work week that would be 37.5 hours.

  60. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 6:31 am:

    “37.5 hours”

    The person who is trying to jam this bad deal down the gullets of tens of thousands of workers made almost $158,000 a day in 2014, all while running for governor.

    Not only that, this person doesn’t want to make a sacrifice and good faith move by paying a higher state income tax and raised holy heck against that idea just the other day.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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