* Jason Barclay, Gov. Rauner’s General Counsel on July 6th…
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.
* State Journal-Register article on July 6th…
Members of the largest state employee union have been getting briefed on what would happen in the event of a strike and some are being polled over their willingness to go on strike over the stalled contract negotiations between the union and the state.
Members of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration said the actions show that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees “is now asking individual members to commit to a strike,” possibly by Sept. 1.
* An op-ed published in the State Journal Register by John Terranova, Deputy Director, Office of Labor Relations on July 16th…
This paper recently reported on the possibility that AFSCME Council 31 employees could go out on strike, perhaps as early as Sept. 1.
Um, yeah. The reporting relied on the Rauner administration’s memo.
That op-ed was sent out to state employees by Terranova on July 19th.
* From a Rauner spokesperson on July 28th…
These comments demonstrate the lack of judgment and reasonableness of the leaders who are marching our state workers toward a September 1 strike.
By then, it was no longer portrayed as a possibility, the date was a firm fact.
* A John Terranova memo dated August 2nd…
As we near AFSCME’s September 1 strike date, I wanted to update you about a troublesome development.
A September 1st strike looked like a lock by then, according to the administration.
* Gov. Rauner was asked about the September 1st date today…
“That’s, that, we’re just hearing that from, we have many, uh, state employees who are working closely with our administration who like our proposal, who like our contract recommendation and are, and are advising us and there’s been a lot of chatter about strikes and strike dates and strike preparations and raising a strike fund. I don’t know. Nobody, I mean, we, we believe we’re at impasse. Um, and, uh, we’re just going through the process that we all agreed. We agreed with the union how the process would go. We had a toll agreement. We have a legal agreement. And we’re going through that process right now and it’s going to play out in the coming weeks and months.”
* Raw audio…
[The audio link doesn’t seem to be working at the moment. None of the links on the CMS site are working, actually. So, give it some time.]
…Adding… The link is working now.
…Adding More… A senior administration source with knowledge of the administration’s thinking claims signs are popping up in agencies during the past few weeks in AFSCME colors that say “Get ready.”
“We think that’s preparation for a strike,” the source said.
Anders Lindall with AFSCME said the signs mean the union is “Ready for whatever may come. Right now, we’re ready to set straight the frequent falsehoods of the administration’s misinformation campaign. Looking ahead, we’re ready to act if the administration tries to unilaterally impose its unfair terms.” He also said the signs have been up for close to two months.
The administration source also pointed to how they’d asked the Labor Board to expedite the hearing on the impasse declaration by bypassing the administrative law judge. AFSCME opposed that motion, you’ll recall. The Labor Board sided with AFSCME. As of now, there’s been no decision from the administrative law judge. “The union can’t credibly go on strike if judge hasn’t ruled,” the Rauner source said.
The source also said the union was “Likely continuing to raise money for a strike fund,” but, he admitted “that’s never been confirmed.”
…Adding Still More… From Anders Lindall…
Donald Trump is known for using the phrase “people are saying” to spread misinformation and innuendo without any proof. Now Bruce Rauner, who said he would support Trump for President, is employing the same tactic to mislead state employees and all the people of Illinois about the status of contract negotiations between his administration and our union. There never was any “Sept. 1 strike date,” and AFSCME has corrected the record time and again.
Public service workers in state government want to do their jobs and serve their communities, not be forced out on strike by Governor Rauner—but that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. Rauner’s administration walked away from negotiations, has refused to bargain since January, and is seeking to unilaterally impose terms on state employees instead of compromising with them.
State workers deserve a governor who is honest, who understands the important public services they provide, and who treats them with respect. Just because Bruce Rauner supports Donald Trump politically is no excuse for the governor to copy Trump’s ludicrous behavior.