* There are those who speculate that the governor’s office is using an alleged September 1 strike date and the potential for union fines if they cross the picket line in an attempt to scare state employees into dropping their full union memberships and switching to “fair share.” This e-mail from the governor’s labor negotiator John Terranova will only increase that speculation…
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, which could be as early as September 1. Specifically, we heard that the Union is threatening to fine employees as much as $5,000.
We respect every employee’s decision to join a union. We also respect the relationship that employees have with their union representatives. That’s why employees should reach out to their union representatives with any questions related to the threat of fines for crossing the picket line. Employees can ask their union representatives to see any provisions on this topic in the union bylaws.
As the employer, however, we also care about state employees and their rights. I, for one, found it troublesome that, given a chance to firmly deny that it could or would fine employees for exercising their right not to strike, AFSCME Council 31’s spokesman failed to do so.
In light of the Union’s failure to flatly deny that it could or would fine employees, I feel it is my obligation to ensure employees know their rights.
You have the right to report coercion or intimidation by union officials; the right to change your union dues status in order to protect your hard-earned salary and prevent the Union from imposing fines if you want to work during a strike; the right to request a copy of the Union’s bylaws; and more. If you visit the Team Illinois website, team.illinois.gov/laborrelations, you’ll find answers to questions you’ve raised and some basic information about these employment rights.
For example, you’ll find information posted in response to the number one question we’ve been receiving since the Union first began threatening employees with fines if they cross the picket line: how do I change my union dues status to avoid getting fined? The process is simple. You just submit your dues revocation form to the agency that employs you, and they will modify your payroll deductions accordingly. If you visit team.illinois.gov/laborrelations, you’ll find a link to the online form where you can change your status. Separately, you will need to notify your union in writing of your intent to change your status, and you will find a sample letter on team.illinois.gov/laborrelations.
Please know that the decision is yours - and yours alone. The State cannot and will not advise you one way or the other and will respect your decision either way.
Rest assured, regardless of your status–fair share or full union members–we will treat you the same way. Your wages, hours, or any other terms and conditions of employment will not change if you become fair share (in the same way that they do not change if you switch from fair share to a full dues paying member). Regardless of your status, you will retain all benefits of your union’s relationship with the State as it relates to the terms and conditions of your employment.
As always, please continue to visit the Labor Relations tab on team.illinois.gov/laborrelations for important updates.
I’m pretty sure this post will be updated with AFSCME’s response.
*** UPDATE *** From AFSCME’s Anders Lindall…
While the governor himself is missing in action—unseen and unheard for nearly an entire week—here in Illinois, public service workers in state government are on the job, protecting kids, caring for veterans and people with disabilities, ensuring public safety and performing all the other vital functions for which they’re responsible every day.
Meanwhile the missing governor’s appointees are piling up one lie after another in a desperate bid to create an alternate reality in which down is up, night is day and Bruce Rauner is a friend to state employees.
No matter how many times they repeat the lies, and no matter who says them—John Terranova, Governor Rauner or anyone else—false statements don’t magically become true. The truth is, no one has been fined by AFSCME and no one will be. No one has been threatened. No strike date has been set nor any strike authorization vote taken. And the cynical, obvious ploy of the Rauner Administration to strip union members of their rights and to silence their voices by weakening their representation is doomed to fail.
AFSCME members are going to keep serving our communities, speaking up through our union and standing up for the fair treatment that all working people deserve.
The Rauner Administration should drop its transparent anti-union campaign and focus on the real priorities of state government and the people of Illinois.