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*** UPDATED x1 *** AFSCME surveying members about possible strike

Wednesday, Jul 6, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This form is being circulated in AFSCME circles…

There are tons of rumors out there right now, and this form is spiking them up even further. Some folks are worried about retaliation from either side, for example.

* But Anders Lindall at AFSCME pointed me to his comments the other day about “strike assessment and informational meeting” notices that went up on union billboards in which he said in part

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.

It could get truly crazy relatively soon. I’ll let you know more when I know more.

*** UPDATE ***  From Jason Barclay, Gov. Rauner’s General Counsel…

Last week we learned that AFSCME is conducting strike assessments throughout the state. This document confirms that AFSCME is now asking individual members to commit to a strike. And we have also heard that they have already selected a strike date of September 1 – which, depending on the status of the Impasse Case at the Labor Board, could be a violation of the Tolling Agreement AFSCME signed with the State wherein it committed not to strike until the Labor Board determines if an impasse has been reached. An AFSCME strike could result in serious disruptions to its members lives – disruption to pension calculations because of a lengthy strike, loss of wages and health insurance during a lengthy strike, and the possibility of being replaced by replacement workers, potentially permanently. The Governor has laid out a much more reasonable path – no strikes or lock outs, respecting the outcome of the Labor Board process agreed to by AFSCME, and allowing AFSCME members to vote on the Governor’s proposals which are substantially similar to those that have been approved by 17 other bargaining units. AFSCME members should remember that the same executives calling for this strike will continue to be paid and will continue to receive their own health and pension benefits while marching members down this unknown and unprecedented path. As an administration, we will continue to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst to ensure that AFSCME’s actions do not shut down services so critical to our taxpayers.


  1. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    Cool! That’s the form I’m using! Getting ready for the Great Labor War. Rauner’s got it all set up just they way he wants it. ILRB meets I think on the 19th of August. I’m sure it will declare impasse and then the war begins.

    Only a decision of NOT IMPASSE will avert the labor war which will collapse the workforce.

  2. - Thunder Fred - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 10:55 am:

    Lots of good faith on display there.

  3. - Steve Polite - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 10:57 am:

    It’s prudent planning and preparation with the potential ruling of impasse coming from the labor board soon.

    Hope for the best; Plan for the worst.

  4. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:01 am:

    –Lots of good faith on display there.–

    You’re right. We have no faith in the Governor. You wanna talk about good faith pumpkin? How about not collecting and giving to AFSCME our “fair share” dues on the first day of negotiation? How about violating the tolling agreement by walking away from the table when we weren’t anywhere near done negotiating? How about not paying our healthcare providers for 18 months forcing us to pay upfront for many services? You want me to go on Thunder Fred? I got a lot more. As they say around here “Girrrrrrrrrrl, please”

  5. - unreal - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:01 am:

    It should’ve never gotten to this point. This union stuff has been going on for years, but as (I believe it was) Steve Schnorf said recently, if BR would come back to the table the union is going to do what’s necessary to avoid this craziness.

  6. - Momof2 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:09 am:

    My husband is an afscme member and hasn’t seen this nor has he heard anything regarding a strike. The anxiety of not having a contract and not knowing if we will have enough money to pay bills in a few months is taking a toll. My husband never took a state job to become rich. He just wanted a job to support his family after he was done serving in the military. Rauner talks about state workers like they are pieces of trash.

  7. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:21 am:

    There’s a lot of information being provided to state workers by AFSCME but, for me, the bottom line is this: If we strike Rauner cannot fire us. If we cross the picket line we become at will employees and can be fired, transferred, given different job duties, etc. at any time.

  8. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    Don’t feed the troll, Honeybear.

  9. - don't get it - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    To Honeybear. Expanding on your point. The state has taken our payments for insurance and not providing insurance payments to our providers. Why doesn’t AFSCME sue the state for committing insurance fraud? Hell make it class action and give every state employee a settlement.

  10. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:29 am:

    This is an extremely hard decision for AFSCME members. Agree to strike and you will be imposing an immediate and extreme financial burden on your family. Don’t strike and you are guaranteed to have a lower family income and less rights.

    Thankfully, it’s not one I have to make.

  11. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:33 am:

    ===Lots of good faith on display there.===

    I’m just going to leave this here.

  12. - steward - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:34 am:

    Tomorrow the labor board meets to decide whether to bypass the ALJ at the governor’s request. It is widely believed that they will. So that means in August the labor board will decide on impasse. It is widely believed the governor’s appointed labor board will agree we are at impasse. Once we are at impasse the governor will impose his “last best final offer.” Which will include pay freezes, political crony pay, double healthcare costs, less bumping rights and no protections against privatization. That will probably happen late August or early September. At that time, the members have 2 choices. Eat the whole bad deal or go on strike.

    The union has the right to ask the members ahead of time regarding what they are prepared to do to fight this bad deal.

  13. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    This all could be avoided if Rauner would continue negotiating. But as it stands, here is some of what he is trying to jam upon workers:

    *more than doubling healthcare costs
    *no step increases and COLA’s
    *elimination of subcontracting language that protects taxpayers from less expensive and less efficient subcontracting, and making employees have to bid for their jobs
    *loss of a lot of layoff protection via the elimination of bumping rights
    *a merit pay system that punishes workers by not giving bonuses if they miss more than seven unscheduled workdays, and exceptional performance standards that Rauner won’t bargain over, trying to make the union “buy before it tries”
    *management’s contractual right to continue trying to eliminate fair share fees

    It’s a big load of something–especially when it’s coming from the super-rich who fight like heck to not pay anything more than the rest of us.

  14. - Crispy - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:36 am:

    Here’s the link to the article on AFSCME Council 31’s site, in reference to steward’s post above:

  15. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:36 am:

    I think AFSCME can appeal the LRB decision if it rules in Rauner’s favor.

  16. - Gr8dane - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    Honeybear–you are spot on! Don’t let trolls try to tell you differently.

  17. - steward - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    “I think AFSCME can appeal the LRB decision if it rules in Rauner’s favor.”

    Probably won’t happen in time to stop him from trying to implement new contract. See if the judge will grant an emergency injunction. Need to be ready in case they don’t.

  18. - Anon 1234 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:48 am:

    We received this information and more at our most recent union meeting. I’m surprised my job site hasn’t been declared essential services which creates an ethical and professional issue for our staff if we strike. A strike will be horrible for everyone involved, but not striking will be worse (in my view). The states social services have already been decimated. Most voters don’t seem to care, until they or their families need those services and by then it is too late.

  19. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:51 am:

    “Probably won’t happen in time to stop him from trying to implement new contract. See if the judge will grant an emergency injunction. Need to be ready in case they don’t.”

    Agreed. However, my hope is that the more Rauner tries to circumvent due process (and that’s pretty much all he’s done since the expiration of the contract), the better chance AFSCME has with the appeal.

  20. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:53 am:


    =Agree to strike and you will be imposing an immediate and extreme financial burden on your family. Don’t strike and you are guaranteed to have a lower family income and less rights.=

    And not a word of concern for the people paying the bills for their excessive demands, and those who receive sorely needed services from them.

    Why I am I not surprised by this from you, Norse?

  21. - Indochine - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    Does anyone know if it’s true that there is a $40 million strike fund? $10 million from local AFSCME and $30 million from national/international. I’m told that by a Springfield AFSCME member.

  22. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    Council 31 says there is no strike fund. It’s another rampant rumor.

  23. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:00 pm:

    Indochine, I was told by my staff rep that a fund was being assembled. I don’t know the amount or how it works. I was told that International considers Illinois the “Alamo”. It cannot be allowed to fall.

  24. - Thoughts Matter - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:01 pm:

    Mr. Barclay - it sounds to me as if AFSCME is doing what the administration is doing- hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. People need to be educated about strike consequences and express their concerns. Your rhetoric is not helpful.

  25. - Robert the 1st - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:03 pm:

    =elimination of subcontracting language that protects taxpayers from less expensive…=

    Thanks for protecting us from less expensive alternatives. What would we do without you?

  26. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    “International considers Illinois the “Alamo”. It cannot be allowed to fall.”

    HB - a previous post about burning the boats has been caught in the CapFax filters.

  27. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:06 pm:

    To the update:

    “An AFSCME strike could result in serious disruptions to its members lives…”

    Punctuation fail, but thanks. For the rest of it, it’s rich to hear the governor’s office cry about violations of the tolling agreement.

    Oh, and: “…the possibility of being replaced by replacement workers, potentially permanently.”

    Hm, might want to check on that.

  28. - Trolling Troll - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    Maybe they can get Maximus to fill all those jobs. It worked out so well last time.

  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:16 pm:

    The union told us at the last meeting that AFSCME Council 31 is liquidating $10 million in bonds to provide a strike fund. AFSCME at the national level will probably quadruple that. Strike funds will pay for picketing and help members from missing bill payments and keep their families fed. AFSCME cannot tell that to Rich Miller because they would be accused of “preparing for a strike” (heaven forbid).

  30. - DGD - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    *more than doubling healthcare costs*

    Double of “not much” is still “not much”

    *loss of a lot of layoff protection via the elimination of bumping rights*

    On what planet is bumping someone else from their job even close to fair ?

    *a merit pay system that punishes workers by not giving bonuses if they miss more than seven unscheduled workdays*

    Welcome to the real world - 7 days off unscheduled is a lot.

  31. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:23 pm:

    “Substantially similar” Well, American Pharoah as a gelding is “substantially similar” to American Pharoah as a stallion. Just sayin’.

  32. - Formerly Known as Frenchie M - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:24 pm:

    The administration cannot replace a striker “permanently”.

    Unlike the ATC strike — the labor action that Rauner probably has recurring dreams about — an AFSCME strike is perfectly legal.

    The administration *cannot* replace striking or locked out workers permanently. Period.

  33. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:24 pm:

    Barclay better get workin’ on who is plannin’ the Starlght State Fair Parade no that Lingle has Aloha’d Team BigBrain. Besides Beth Purvis are there any $uper$tars left?

  34. - Team Warwick - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:27 pm:

    Im skeptical of this report. Im a member havent heard anything about this? But some locals are more rabid than others. Locals can vary by state agency. When i changed state agencies i got a different local.

  35. - Momof2 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:30 pm:

    The last email update from afscme in June did say there was a strike fund so it is not a rumor. It did not say how much though.

  36. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:36 pm:

    Honeybear, perhaps Illinois is AFSME’s Bastogne would be a better analogy than the Alamo. Afterall, the ending there was too pleasant for the defenders. :-)

  37. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:37 pm:

    Why does the governor’s office think Afscme members would vote differently from INA members? Why are they bothering to ask for this other than to try to make the leadership look like the problem? It’s like blaming Madigan for the votes of all Democrats.

  38. - Harvest76 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:43 pm:

    A strike assessment is not a commitment to strike, it is a headcount to see if calling for a vote is even possible, but team Rauner has never let facts stop them from saying anything they wish reality to be.

  39. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    G’Kar, good point.

  40. - jeffinginchicago - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:07 pm:

    Please please go on strike before the election it is the only way the voters will really learn all the issues and decide how to vote. I mean that with every ounce of my being.

  41. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:12 pm:

    To the Update, where does Rauner find these people? Is there an endowed Rauner School of Perfidy? My God, it goes beyond just mere inaccuracy, it is pure perfidy PLUS counterintelligence, thanks Goldberg. Especially the Sept 1 strike date. GAFFFFAWWWWWWWW! First of all who wants a strike? Certainly not any state worker. 2) Aug 19th is when I think the ILRB meets. It’s a mad legal dash from that day and who knows the outcome. I’m just tired of fighting the perfidious obfuscation of OODA loopers. Here’s all you or anybody needs to understand.

    If Rauner instructs his owned ILRB to issue an “Impasse” verdict and Rauner doesn’t have to return to the negotiating table then,


    An AFSCME strike OR accepting the poison contract


    Collapse the workforce beyond repair.

    We’re barely able to function now because of the “starve the beast” tactics.

    Just wait until the workforce is disrupted by the Great Labor War or the Contract Death.

    It has been Rauners ONLY game……ONLY

    This is it. This is what all the waiting has been for.

    It will kill the workforce.

    No workforce= no state function

  42. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:15 pm:

    Remember, Rauners superstars have been right about everything so far.

    Why should we doubt whether a Labor War will work?

    It will in the same way that destroying social services, higher ed, state agencies has worked.

    It’s worked perfectly. Not kidding. Totally perfectly according to plan.

    You don’t have fund what isn’t there anymore.

  43. - steward - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:19 pm:

    “And we have also heard that they have already selected a strike date of September 1″

    Wow you heard it? How interesting. Where? The men’s restroom? Believe me, if there is a strike date, the administration will know. Because the union is legally required to give notice of such. But nice attempt at yoda-looping.

  44. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:20 pm:

    I keep hearing the assertion that union members crossing the picket line become “at will” employees. I believe that is untrue, that those employees would have all the protections of the Personnel Code, which is a pretty good civil service system. Would some one please tell me if I’m wrong and explain to me why. I believe the only at will employees in state government under the Governor are the exempts, temps and new hire probationary status.

  45. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:21 pm:

    From these comments I get a sense of glee, on one hand, as if there is an urge to bring on a fight. But, on the other hand, there is a sense of fear; i.e., what if we lose?

  46. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:23 pm:

    The purpose of a strike is to force management either back to negotiations or to force them off of a hardened position. A strike by AFSCME will do neither of those. If there’s one thing we learned from the last year without a budget is that the Governor does not care about hardships. A strike isn’t going to force the Governor to do anything so I’m not sure the point of a strike other than for AFSCME members to show their dislike of the contract.

  47. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:25 pm:

    *more than doubling healthcare costs*
    Double of “not much” is still “not much”

    Well then why all the teeth gnashing? Just raise the income tax to 7.5%. Double “not much” is still “not much.” Sure makes that “67% increase” in income tax look pretty pale, doesn’t it?

  48. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:25 pm:

    Keyser Soze, dude listen to what I’m saying. We all lose. If the verdict is “Impasse”. That marks the start of the collapse. Rauners superstar Chiefs have never understood that the ship doesn’t run without sailors.

  49. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:26 pm:

    How many of you all would want to work for the state right now? How many of you all if you did would try to get out because of all this? Answer honestly and you’ll come to the inevitable conclusion that I have. Our state workforce is in active collapse.

  50. - Shanks - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:31 pm:

    Nice threatening letter for the Governor…but there is no way AFSCME will go on strike unless an impasse is declared and all other options are off the table.
    But, as I predicted when Rauner got in office, he wants a crisis and to bring the state to a standstill, and he wants to cripple the unions, any way possible. No care about front line staff that have to feel the repercussions.

  51. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:37 pm:

    I’m hearing the same thing from union friends re assessment for a strike. I’m also hearing they won’t call for a strike vote unless the assessment survey shows a high level of member support for it.

  52. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:46 pm:

    HB, I have no reason to believe the Governor “owns” the ILRB. I’ve served on at least 4 Boards or Commissions under 3 different Governors and never once have once have I been asked, much less told, to vote a certain way. It appears to me at least 3 of the current state Panel were appointed by either Governor Blagojevich or Governor Quinn. Ex Parte communications between interested parties and Board members are prohibited. Can you tell me why you believe they are owned?

  53. - DHS Jim - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:46 pm:

    I think if a strike is done before the election it might convince the Governor to back off his more extreme demands (like removing all restrictions to privatization). The Governor has shown again and again when his unreasonable demands get in the way of good governance, he pulls his unreasonable demands and lives to fight another day. And a strike would definitely have a negative effect on governance. My hope is for an injunction from the courts once ILRB declares impasse.

  54. - First Timer - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:48 pm:

    “At Will” employee is not the correct term Steve, you are correct. It will be “At Their Will” employee as those employees will only be protected by the Personnel Code. Which doesn’t provide for shift, assignment, regular days off, facility rights and a host of other things which are protected under a contract. So people may be assigned else where and perhaps not even in their county and if one was to refuse an assignment–fired. What does the Personnel Code say about that?

  55. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:49 pm:

    ==Does anyone know if it’s true that there is a $40 million strike fund? $10 million from local AFSCME and $30 million from national/international.==

    Does National have the funds? According to DOL reports, they have a $67 million pension liability on their books.

  56. - Small Town Girl - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:52 pm:

    Does anyone know why AFSCME doesn’t have an insurance plan similar to the Teamsters?

  57. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 1:55 pm:


    Now that IES implementation has been delayed by two months, AFCSME will have a much stronger hand to play.

  58. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:02 pm:

    Steve Schnorf,

    If the ILRB allows the Governor’s motion to bypass the ALJ (which has never happened before), moving directly to an impasse vote, I’d say that was an indication that they are “owned” by the governor. Look for a finding of impasse at the August meeting, a quick strike authorization vote by AFSCME and (hopefully) a strike.

  59. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:03 pm:

    *Double of “not much” is still “not much”*

    I forgot to include that Rauner’s deal would force active state employees to pay 40% of healthcare costs, one of the worst if not the worst deals for state workers in the country. Meanwhile, Rauner, Griffin and their ilk would pay jack squat more in taxes.

    Healthcare costs could increase even higher in the final years of the contract.

    “On what planet is bumping someone else from their job even close to fair ?”

    On Planet Rauner, where senior workers who devoted many years of service lose to newer, cheaper and less-experienced workers.

    “Welcome to the real world - 7 days off unscheduled is a lot.”

    In the “real world,” the unionization rate is abysmally low, at or around 11%. Rauner and his super-rich partners want to push that number even lower, which means less pay and fewer benefits.

  60. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:03 pm:

    I think that both sides probably have an idea as to what they could really live with outside of the glare of media and political posturing. How close are they really? I don’t know, but it might be worth having a quiet chat before an actual strike is called. Neither side can predict actual outcomes, meaning both sides lose control to some extent when a strike begins. There would be a disruption in state services, sure. But how much support is there for public employee unions in the general voting population, given that most workers, either public or private, do not belong to unions anymore. How much would a resolution in favor of either side cost the taxpayer. Better to keep trying to hash it out.

  61. - jimk849 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:03 pm:

    I hope AFSCME has a strike fund and I hope different locals from across America can lend funds from their srike funds to the il. workers fund. I would love to see Bruce dance as a prolonged strike approached the Fall elections.

  62. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:09 pm:

    Steve Schnorf, I’ll give you a one word answer, Coli. That’s how I know. Steve God bless you. You come from an era of better governance and adherence to the rules and ethics of government. It’s a different day. (also the cards were shown with the ILRB ruled against us in “no brainer” cases.)

  63. - kimocat - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    Cassandra — Do you really believe at this point in time, that Bruce Rauner wants to work things out with AFCSME? Of course there is a reasonable compromise to be had, probably several of them. But I’m convinced that that is the very last thing Rauner wants. He appears to have nothing but contempt for AFCSME members and the state workforce in general. Why would he compromise with them if he can ruin them?

  64. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    HB, I’m sorry but I don’t understand what “coli” means in this context

  65. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    I think AFSCME members should gather at the State Fairgrounds tonight and remind themselves how they treated PQ and other Dems. on Governor’s Day a few years ago. Lady Karma will meet you out there.

  66. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:18 pm:

    Anon, so if they rule against the union they are “owned” by definition?

  67. - burbanite - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:21 pm:

    I pay the bills, AFSCME workers pay the bills, not only wealthy people pay the bills Bob. And I don’t live here to avoid paying taxes like you are. I pay my fair share of the bills, and then some. I support state workers. Now you have the input of someone paying the bills.

  68. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:25 pm:

    ===Anon, so if they rule against the union they are “owned” by definition?===

    I wouldn’t say by definition but certainly by practice in this situation. The definition of impasse is clearly stated and it is clear AFSCME was still negotiating. One side cannot arbitrarily decide the negotiations are at an impasse and refuse to negotiate further. If the ILRB sides with Rauner then yes, I believe owned would be the appropriate term.

  69. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    First Timer, From the Civil Service Commission, “The Commission hears and determines employee appeals of discharges, suspensions, transfers, allocations, layoffs and demotions under the Personnel Code and Rules.”

  70. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:30 pm:

    Because he wants another term? And the results of a strike, as I said before, are unpredictable for both sides. Neither side can be certain of coming out better than they are now. Maybe there would be a huge upsurge in support for AFSCME among members of the general public. Maybe Rauner would garner support from an irritated public for trying to keep costs down. Who knows. Does either side want to find out. Frankly, if they can’t reach an agreement, I think both sides are better off doing nothing at this point.

  71. - steward - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    “Welcome to the real world - 7 days off unscheduled is a lot.”

    In the real world people get sick. Peoples’ kids get sick. Child care plans fall through. People get into accidents on the way to work. Cars break down or won’t start. Public transit sometimes doesn’t work. There is severe weather that isn’t enough to get the state to declare a snow day but still prevents someone from commuting in.

  72. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:39 pm:

    Steve, here’s a question for you. Did the administrations you work for appoint GOP members to important boards that were expected to vote against the admin’s positions? One can quibble over the use of the term “owned,” but the bottom line is that most reasonable people expect the Rauner majority to vote with him. If I’m wrong and I truly hope I’m wrong, I would happily acknowledge my error.

  73. - Original Rambler - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:42 pm:

    First Timer, in addition to what SS found the Personnel Rules has a grievance procedure for more mundane workplace issues. There are significant protections and benefits in the Personnel Code & Rules.

  74. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:43 pm:

    Steve Schnorf,

    If you followed the ALJ proceedings, you know that AFSCME SMASHED the governor’s argument that we were at impasse. Bypassing the legal opinion on that shows that the governor just wants it his way with no legal issues to get in the way.

  75. - steward - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:44 pm:

    If the labor board rules on impasse then they will prove they are owned because the very idea that we are at impasse is laughable. There is plenty of room for both sides to move. We are willing to move. We moved right before they read off their prepared impasse statement. We’ve offered to move again since then if the admin comes back to the table. Impasse is a sick joke.

  76. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:46 pm:

    “*more than doubling healthcare costs*
    Double of “not much” is still “not much””

    Before I switched to the Teamsters health insurance, the State was taking about 4.3% of my check before taxes. If my insurance premium were to double, that would go up to 8.6% per pay check.

    The prospect of no raise for 4 years, rising premium costs demonstrated that it was a no brainer to take the Teamsters health insurance. I ended up with more money in the pay packet and better insurance than if I stayed on the State policy.

    I have a friend who just made the switch. He is kicking himself for being afraid of the new plan. By his calculation, he would have saved $3600 by switching to the Teamsters health insurance.

    I don’t think that AFSCME has the luxury of a national health insurance plan. I have often wondered if they could piggy back on the Teamster plan.

  77. - Sue - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    Whoever said it should not have gotten this far is absolutely correct- all the Union needed to do was make a reasonable effort to meet the state halfway. The Union has totally failed its membership by not recognizing the State is no longer able to maintain the status quo. Arbitration was not the answe- the answe was to propose a middle ground

  78. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:01 pm:

    “*more than doubling healthcare costs*
    Double of “not much” is still “not much””

    Wow, you must be pretty well off. It’s going to cost me about 3500 to KEEP MY EXISTING PLAN. I’ll probably be the one to drop down to bronze while my spouse and kids will pay that. See with two state workers we have to have two plans. It’s at best double for my family and totally reduced services and higher copays and deductibles for me

  79. - Anotherretiree - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    I thought they needed to start preparing Nov 2014. Rauner was a threat from day 1. Hard to strike when people are living check to check….

  80. - Arthur Scargill - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:03 pm:

    Gee, do you think the governor has carefully laid a trap for AFSCME?

  81. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:10 pm:


    Thanks for the support for AFSCME (no snark).

    That’s what we want. A compromise. We are ready to deal.

  82. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:18 pm:

    I usually resist the temptation to feed you Sue but I’m in a good mood today. I applaud your use of the Raunerite term “status quo” but you’ve misused it here. Status quo would be step increases, COLA’s, maintaining current cost and coverage for employee health ins., and job security to name a few. If Rauner would not insist on doubling our cost for ins. and decimating all of our bargaining rights AFSCME could probably live with no raises. But no raises AND doubling ins. costs results in a net pay DECREASE. Having said that, the biggest deal breaker is the decimation of collective bargaining rights. This would allow Rauner to contract out state work wherever and whenever he wants. AFSCME is determined to protect their members against this. How is that failing the membership?

  83. - Consideration - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:20 pm:

    Also a two state-worker household. Will lose about $6000 out of pocket in the first year (and more in future years) with Rauner’s offer. That’s $5000 less I will spend locally - business owners in SPFLD beware.

  84. - DGD - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:21 pm:

    ** Wow, you must be pretty well off. It’s going to cost me about 3500 to KEEP MY EXISTING PLAN**

    Which means you currently pay about $1800 for employee and family. I currently pay $4800+/year for employee and family at what is probably the best employer in Springfield, so…that is why you fail to gain sympathy with anyone in the private sector.

  85. - First Timer - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    Sue, It is the state’s negotiating side who actually never came off their main proposals, not the union. So halfway would be acceptable by most state employees. Except for the language that gives the governor the right to privatize their job without it even saving the state a dime.
    Steve, did you find any language that protects an individual from disobeying a direct order? If a person crosses the picket line and goes to work, they are not guaranteed their actual assignment so if they are told to go to a different location to work, possibly an hour away, and they refuse the order how do you think the CSC is going to rule on that? I know you have been around a long time and have seen the rulings from the CSC and you could pretty well answer the question, as well as many people on this site.
    Rambler these are events that will happen and immediate attention needs to intervene if you know much about the CSC then you know it will take months to even hear the case/grievance.

  86. - Small Town Girl - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:42 pm:

    DGD, I would imagine that is just for Honeybear herself. That is about what my husband pays for just himself. This is sliding scale based on salary. I have myself and three kids and I pay more than you do at $4800.

  87. - northsider (the original) - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:44 pm:

    “This administration does not view quasi-judicial boards as being independent of the governor’s office”. At least that was what I was informed by executive staff when the impropriety of board interference was pointed out.
    It was a ‘lesser board’, and the interference was constant. It did not happen during the prior administration, at least to this little board. This group has a very unique understanding of legislatively created boards and ex parte rules.

  88. - tired of politics - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:45 pm:

    Sue, what was the unions last offer? Please enlighten us.

  89. - The Bird - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:47 pm:

    Springfield Clinic offers full time coverage for the family for $2904/yr. Maybe you should rethink the best employer thing.

  90. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:52 pm:

    DGD, nope you misunderstood. (or I wasn’t clear. I try) Anyway, it’s 3500+ EXTRA to keep the current plan on my spouse and 2 kids. Now add the 3600 they currently pay. That brings you to 7100. NOW add my future Bronze level plan of 2400. What I currently pay. That gives me a projected insurance premium bill of 9500 for a family of 4.

    Soooooooooooooo…..bite me pumpkin.

  91. - Present - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 4:00 pm:

    My son works part-time at UPS.Teamsters. FREE for him and 10.00 copays for everything. No full time job on the horizon though.

  92. - Anon 1234 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    I probably have the most expensive plan / situation for state employees and I currently pay a little more than $500/month for me and family, so $6000 per year. Doubling that would hurt, but I wouldn’t strike for it if they removed the anti-union demands. No reason to agree to the current terms - effective pay cut and lose a lot of the job security? It’s going to be a hardship to strike, but Rauner doesn’t seem to have given much of a choice. I’ve had other great offers, but I actually like my work.

  93. - steward - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 4:04 pm:

    Here are some healthcare facts:

    1. Currently the state isn’t paying all the providers so many members are being asked to foot the whole bill and then maybe get reimbursed later one day. Especially at the dentist.

    2. Under the governor’s proposal, you will pay double somehow unless you give up retiree healthcare. (Which is dubious legally) You get to choose how it doubles. (Yay! /s) But there is No pure “keep what you have” option.

    3. The governor has put in writing that he fully intends to backdate premiums to July 1st once he imposes. Workers will have 2 premimum deductions until the governor decides you are current.

    4. The administration intends to make striking workers pay the full cost of their healthcare while out. You can see how much that is on cms’s website.

    5. All of this will happen under a pay freeze. There is supposedly some “merit” bonuses coming but the administration still can’t explain how they would be implemented across job titles. They would be non pensionable and not added to your base. They would be dependent on the budget and whim of your supervisor. Hope you’re good friends. Oh yeah, don’t get sick and hope your kid never gets sick.

    Add all that up and sadly my best advice to members is to opt out of our healthcare if they are able.

  94. - Cindy Lou - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 4:08 pm:

    Don’t have time to read all the comments, so if repeating, sorry.

    This isn’t the first time over the years I’ve seen a strike assessment. Early 2000s is the last one I recall. No strike was actually held as good faith honest bargaining negotiations prevailed , of course, but an assessment for sure.

  95. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 4:12 pm:

    God bless you Anon1234, solidarity. I hope he doesn’t push us out either. But he’s not going to drop his demands. He’s already issued his Last Best and Final. He can still call off his owned board and go back to the table. It’s our only hope.

  96. - James Knell - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 4:52 pm:

    Honeybear… “Rauners superstars have been right about everything so far.”

    That’s debatable. Their March primary didn’t go so well and they are cruising for a bruising this November behind El Trumpo.

    Being on the frontline is never fun or heroic. That’s where people get hurt. I have been there a few times. But you will know we have lost when Illinois looks like Wisconsin.

  97. - Threepwood - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 4:54 pm:

    Steve, I can’t vouch for what is or isn’t communicated or demanded by this administration of their board members. But by your logic, we shouldn’t expect Supreme Court appointees to reflect the will of their appointers, either.

  98. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 4:55 pm:

    We pay 6,000 per year for employee, spouse and two kids for healthlink. I’d be willing to pay more but not double! Took this job for health benefits and pension, not salary. The salaries and pensions have gotten so big, I certainly understand the need to cut somewhere.

  99. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 5:17 pm:

    3, no we shouldn’t We should expect them to respect the law to the best of their ability

  100. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 5:28 pm:


    In a better world. Not in Raunerworld.

  101. - Mama - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 6:02 pm:

    ==Cubs in ‘16 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 3:18 pm ==
    You are 100% correct about contracting out the workers jobs at will (no proof of savings) and the workers having to bid on their own jobs. This is the real deal breaker.

    There is no doubt in my mind Rauner will force the workers to stay on strike for at least a year or as long as legally possible. Even if there was a strike fund it would not be enough for all of the strikers to pay their bills for even one month. Think about it.

  102. - tired of politics - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 6:17 pm:

    Sue, still waiting for your answer.

  103. - Robert the 1st - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 6:22 pm:

    =I’d be willing to pay more but not double! Took this job for health benefits and pension, not salary. The salaries and pensions have gotten so big, I certainly understand the need to cut somewhere.=

    What a confusing post. Pensions can’t be cut, salary cuts would be devastating, so naturally health benefits are the first target… You pretty much outline that in your comment.

  104. - burbanite - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 6:29 pm:

    my husband private sector Teamster healthcare cost, -0-. Private sector.d

    This is what she meant by Coli;

  105. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 7:09 pm:

    Rauner would like to keep us on strike as long as possible. Fortunately, the legislature and the courts will be there to force compromise.

  106. - Fixer - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 7:13 pm:

    Having read all 367 pages of the current propsal from Rauner, there is very, VERY little in the way of agreeable changes as it stands right now. Those proposals he has made would not only decimate the state workers but their communities as well.

    You don’t fix a state by destroying parts of it for your profit. You don’t get into public service for the money.

  107. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 7:18 pm:

    The CSC might protect a worker’s rights, but it won’t be fast … or necessarily cheap. I’ve wrote before about mom’s fight over a job reassessment that went astray and her hiring one of the attorneys who actually wrote the State Civil Service Code to represent her in her appeal to the CSC. She did a lot of the leg work and data gathering but it still cost a lot. And it took over a year to get resolved in more normal times.

    I wouldn’t count on the CSC for any quick action in response to lots of complaints or appeals because they would be overwhelmed by a lot of cases.

  108. - Steve Schnorf - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 8:57 pm:

    So is the Coli comment somehow an allegation that the administration is controlled by the mob? Or that the mob forced Illinois Teamsters to accept the Administration labor contact offer? I can’t quite fit all that together.

  109. - Johnnie F. - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 9:15 pm:

    I am very much hoping that the labor board refuses to expedite the process and considers the opinion of the judge that heard the arguments from both sides. I don’t know why Rauner waited till the judge was ready to issue an opinion and then asked for that step in the process to be skipped?? Shouldn’t that have been done months ago? How can the whole board make decision if they have not heard all the arguments. Wouldn’t that whole board have to hear from hoh

  110. - Johnnie F. - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 9:34 pm:

    Even though the some of the Board members where appointed by Rauner I hope they have an understanding of their purpose and respect their positions and duties enough to issue a fair and impartial opinion based on labor law.

  111. - Harvest76 - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 9:36 pm:

    Your statement shows just how closely you followed the attempts at negotiation, by which I mean you weren’t following at all.

  112. - Property of IDOC - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 10:18 pm:

    Johnnie f. @ 9:34
    Utter fantasy…

  113. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 6, 16 @ 11:47 pm:

    Rauner just isn’t as scary as he was two weeks ago. His “no compromise” strategy didn’t work so well for him with the budget. Why should this be any different? Paper tiger.

  114. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 7, 16 @ 12:13 am:

    Rauner thinks he will win if AFSCME strikes. If he forces us to strike it will be the end of him.

  115. - Honeybear - Thursday, Jul 7, 16 @ 6:55 am:

    –There is no doubt in my mind Rauner will force the workers to stay on strike for at least a year or as long as legally possible.–

    I don’t think Illinois could take a strike of more than 2 months. You just can’t shut down the state like that. Plus as weak as Illinois is right now it would go sooner than that.

  116. - State Worker THX 1138 - Thursday, Jul 7, 16 @ 6:59 am:

    I’ll strike. No problem. Sure it will create a hardship in the short term, but will be more than worth it in the long term. I’ve been saving to the best of my ability and I’m all set to go.

  117. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jul 7, 16 @ 8:39 am:

    Per this news article, income gains last year mostly went to people like Rauner and his financial backers, the 0.1 percent, followed by the 1 percent.

    AFSCME’s income ask is lower than last year’s average income gain for everyone else. Rauner’s proposal of no step increases and COLA’s, along with drastic healthcare cost increases, are hard hits for a large group of middle class workers,

    This is why there is a gross and fundamental unfairness in Rauner and other super-rich trying to force huge concessions from state workers while fighting with all their might to not pay higher tax rates.

  118. - Nick Name - Thursday, Jul 7, 16 @ 9:35 am:

    “And we have also heard that they have already selected a strike date of September 1″

    “And we have also heard…”

    I’m sorry, but what kind of lawyer writes horse hockey like this? And on behalf of a state gubernatorial administration too. Just…unbelievable.

    The complete lack of professionalism and décor is not the worst of the offenses of the Rauner administration, but it’s still darn close to the top. SMDH.

  119. - Gr8dane - Thursday, Jul 7, 16 @ 2:35 pm:

    Labor Board says NO to Rauner’s speed-up request.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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