* This flier was recently posted on the union bulletin board at the state prison in Decatur…
* I asked AFSCME Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall for an explanation…
As you know, the Rauner administration walked away from negotiations on Jan. 8 and has refused to meet with the AFSCME bargaining committee ever since. Instead, the governor is asking his Labor Board to give him the unprecedented power to unilaterally impose his harmful terms—including massive hikes in employee costs for health care, freezing wages for four years, and wiping out existing safeguards against reckless privatization.
If Rauner imposes, public service workers in state government will be forced to choose between working under those harmful terms or going out on strike.
AFSCME members don’t want a strike and continue doing everything in our power to avoid one. We want to be at work, serving our communities, protecting kids, responding to emergencies, caring for veterans and the disabled and much more. We have repeatedly indicated our willingness to return to the bargaining table and our readiness to offer further compromises in hopes of reaching a fair agreement. We supported legislation to prevent a strike and instead settle the differences between the parties through a fair arbitration process.
But we know that as a candidate, Bruce Rauner vowed to force a strike and shut down state government. We know that last summer his administration was attempting to recruit strikebreakers, even reportedly discussing the mobilization of the National Guard. And we know that the administration still refuses to meet with our bargaining committee.
Governor Rauner’s threatening approach has created instability and uncertainty throughout state government. We have to be prepared for him to continue seeking confrontation and sowing chaos. That’s why AFSCME local unions throughout Illinois are meeting to share information and answer questions, and continuing to organize and build community support.
I’ll let you know what the Rauner administration says about it, if they choose to respond.
*** UPDATE *** From an administration spokesperson…
We are deeply disappointed that, in the middle of impasse proceedings before the Labor Board, AFSCME is reportedly planning for a strike vote. To even talk of striking, much less taking a vote, before the Labor Board has had a chance to rule in this case is not only irresponsible but also a violation of the parties’ Tolling Agreement. Rest assured, although the Governor hopes employees reject AFSCME’s irresponsible call to strike, our contingency planning team is ready and will not let AFSCME’s actions disrupt the provision of services to Illinois citizens.