* A memo from the governor’s union negotiator…
TO: Trey Childress, Deputy Governor and Chief of Operations
Jason Barclay, Governor’s General Counsel
Richard Goldberg, Governor’s Chief of Staff
FROM: John Terranova, Deputy Director
DATE: August 2, 2016
SUBJECT: AFSCME Threatening Workers with Fines for Crossing Picket Lines
As we near AFSCME’s September 1 strike date, I wanted to update you about a troublesome development.
My office has recently learned that AFSCME representatives are advising employees about the consequences of crossing the picket line in the event of a strike. Specifically, we heard that the Union is threatening to fine employees as much as $5,000 if they cross the picked the line. Threatened fines in the same amount of $5,000 were reported at the State Retirement Systems Building in Springfield on July 15, 2016, and at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on July 18, 2016.
As much as I personally find such threats distasteful, I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of what AFSCME plans to do to members who cross the picket line.
To confirm whether AFSCME is able to fine its members and how much, we would need to review the Union’s bylaws. Unfortunately, AFSCME’s bylaws do not appear to be publicly available. We would need the Union to embrace transparency and make its bylaws available to the public.
We will update you as we learn more about this issue and how it is affecting state employees.
* Finke has AFSCME Council 31’s response to the alleged threat of fines…
A spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on Tuesday called the memo “another groundless attack from the Rauner administration.” […]
AFSCME locals around the state have been holding meetings with members to inform them of their rights and other ramifications in the event of a strike. However, AFSCME said it doesn’t want a strike and repeated that assertion Tuesday.
“Another day, another groundless attack from the Rauner administration,” AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said. “There is no ‘September 1 strike date’ anywhere but in the governor’s mind, and this memo’s other claims are just as unreliable.”
“While we won’t get dragged into responding to every phony twist and turn of the Rauner misinformation campaign, the simple fact is that AFSCME Council 31 has never fined anyone for conduct during a strike,” Lindall said. “This is a nonissue invented by the administration to distract state workers from what’s really going on. Governor Rauner boasted that he’d force a strike, he walked away from negotiations, and he’s seeking the power to unilaterally impose his extreme demands.”
OK, so Council 31 has never fined a member for crossing a picket line. But can the union fine strike-breakers?
*A commenter on the SJ-R story points to two sections of AFSCME’s constitution…
Section 1. Except as hereafter provided in this Article, any member of the Federation may file charges against any individual for actions taken while a member of the Federation or while a staff employee of the Federation or a subordinate body.
Section 2. The following and no other shall constitute the basis for the filing of charges: […]
D. Acting in collusion with management to the detriment of the welfare of the union or its membership.
Section 15. A trial body may, if it finds the accused person guilty, assess any one or more of the following penalties:
A. A formal reprimand, accompanied by a formal warning against any repetition of the act or acts of which the accused is found guilty.
B. A fine in an amount not to exceed one year’s dues, to be paid to the union at the level at which the charges originate.
C. Full or partial restitution, where the consequences of the offense can be measured in material terms.
So, apparently Council 31 can fine workers.
*** UPDATE 1 *** From Anders Lindall at Council 31…
This is a ludicrous discussion. No AFSCME member has ever been fined for such conduct in Illinois, we’ve never even considered the concept, and in checking with our national union, they are aware of no case in which it has ever happened anywhere in the country. This “matter” is entirely a creation of the Rauner Administration’s anti-union misinformation campaign to confuse, distract and divide state employees and the public.
*** UPDATE 2 *** From Rauner spokesman Lance Trover…
It is outrageous that AFSCME refuses to categorically rule out fining workers who may not want to strike.