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Illinois Policy Institute claims AFSCME rejecting offers that would benefit state workers

Thursday, Oct 27, 2016

* The Illinois Policy Institute concern trolls AFSCME on behalf of the union’s members

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – the state’s largest government-worker union – claims to have the best interests of state workers in mind.

But the union has repeatedly rejected provisions that would benefit state workers, such as time off to mourn the loss of a loved one and the ability to earn additional pay based on hard work and performance.

AFSCME and Gov. Bruce Rauner have been deadlocked for months in negotiations over a new contract for state workers. On Nov. 15, the Illinois Labor Relations Board will meet and consider whether the two sides have reached impasse – and if so, Rauner will be able to implement his last and best offer. AFSCME, in turn, could strike.

Why the deadlock? What is AFSCME fighting so hard to obtain? Salary increases of up to 29 percent, for one. Platinum-level health care benefits at little cost to state workers – a level of coverage that is not even available to regular Illinoisans on the state’s insurance exchange, let alone at a rock-bottom price. And a 37.5-hour workweek before overtime kicks in – to name just a few.

Undoubtedly, these are lavish perks that any state employee working under the AFSCME contract would welcome. But of course, these concessions would also further tank the state’s failing economy. It is estimated that AFSCME’s demands would cost taxpayers $3 billion in additional salary and benefit increases. That is a price tag Illinoisans simply cannot afford – a fact AFSCME has completely disregarded.

But the union also has turned its back on more reasonable benefits, to the detriment of the state workers the union claims to represent.

* From Council 31’s Anders Lindall…

Big surprise: The latest phony attack from the Rauner-funded IPI is so full of falsehoods that I can’t tell where to begin.

Here’s the reality: Bruce Rauner walked away from negotiations nearly 10 months ago and has refused to even meet with our bargaining committee ever since. We want to negotiate and reach a compromise that’s fair to all, but we can only do that if the Rauner Administration returns to the bargaining table.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    ==Platinum-level health care benefits at little cost to state workers – a level of coverage that is not even available to regular Illinoisans==

    The us vs. them game. Aren’t we all “regular Illinoisians?”

    ==And a 37.5-hour workweek==

    That’s not new.

    ==lavish perks==

    So good pay and benefits are lavish perks. Got it.

    ==would cost taxpayers $3 billion in additional salary and benefit increases.==

    Still have never seen the math on that. They’ve got to be counting the entirety of salary and benefits to AFSCME employees to get that number and if they are that’s not “additional.” You’ve got the base now. Anything over an above that base would be “additional.” I think they are arguing that the simple fact of continuing to exist is an “additional” cost to the state.

  2. - Norseman - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:03 pm:

    LOL. There you go again - the IL Propaganda Interests are at it again.

  3. - Consideration - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:07 pm:

    I guess IPI knows how to best represent the middle class - maybe we could get them to represent us in our negotiations…./S

  4. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:10 pm:

    I thought the details of the negotiations were kept confidential. When did IPI obtain the need to know?

  5. - Regular Illinoisian that is a state worker - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:10 pm:

    ==Platinum-level health care==, I’m a single mother, and I do good to get my co-pay, and out of pocket paid now for emergency room visits, and hospital costs for my daughter.

    ==lavish perks== Please list my perks for me, I’m AFSCME and I’m doing 3 jobs because AFSCME jobs have been frozen for so long and the Governors office refuses to allow CMS to post and fill these positions. I’m not getting paid for doing these 3 different positions with temporary pay either, because they are titles below me, and I’m expected to be a “team player” and just help out where needed because we are short handed.

    ==Governors Last Best Offer== will put me in the poor house, has it been posted for all the “regular Illinoisans” to view, compared to what AFSCME is trying to keep. NO, the Governor and all his cronies are trying to scew the view that the union is the big bad wolf, and he is acutlally Robin Hood, but he is not trying to rob from the rich to give to the poor, he is robbing the poor, to help the 1% get richer.

  6. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:15 pm:

    Being allowed to retain a job with benefits iis a lkaviush perk to these guys.

  7. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:21 pm:

    As a state worker AFSCME isn’t acting in my best interest? SO glad to have organizations like the IPI to keep me well-informed and educated!

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:21 pm:

    Demo, I would suggest you compare the benefits and money to the private sector. No, I’m not jealous, just go compare and report back.

    You have a great gig, and apparently a thin skin. I realize the state didn’t properly fund the pensions. But, to think taxpayers should be asked to pay more and more and more isn’t the solution.

    The left’s solution is to raise the state income tax to 6-7%. That is always the left’s solution.

    You have a wonderful set up, just appreciate it, and don’t play the victim.

  9. - The_Equalizer - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    Three billion? Please show your math. Thank you.

  10. - Annonin' - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    Anyone else askin’ when BigBrain plans release the tax returns. Deadline with extensions 10-17-16

  11. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:27 pm:

    This “platinum” stuff is interesting. For years we (CMS) did market basket studies to determine how our level of health benefits compared to other states. We would always do the Big Ten states, and frequently peer states (Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc). Our interest was in making sure we were competitive without being excessive. Usually our health benefits plans fell around the 60th percentile, though sometimes higher.

    Either our benefits here have really climbed, or other states have really fallen, or many/most states have platinum plans: those appear to me to be the only possibilities. The richness of the benefits is certainly one factor to be considered in determining how much employees should pay for them.

    I wonder why AFSCME doesn’t hire Mercer or someone to do a study so we can put these claims/counterclaims to rest for good. Or perhaps the state has already had such a study done. If so it would probably behoove them to share it (if they haven’y already, and I haven’t seen any sign of it).

  12. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:28 pm:

    ==I would suggest you compare the benefits and money to the private sector.==

    Why does it matter? And we’ve been through this argument before. Some are higher. Some are lower. But, again, that argument isn’t relevant to me unless we’re now arguing that no one should make more or less than anyone else.

    ==You have a great gig,==

    You have no idea what “gig” I have.

    ==The left’s solution is to raise the state income tax to 6-7%. That is always the left’s solution.==

    Umm, that’s also going to be the “right’s” solution too.

    ==You have a wonderful set up, just appreciate it,==

    Again, you don’t know my “set up.” Not in a union nor have I ever been in a union so I’ve got no personal stake in this.

  13. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:28 pm:

    Surprised they didn’t mention the $1000 bonus to all AFSCME members if they accepted Rauner’s offer before the end of 2015.

  14. - Regular Illinoisian that is a state worker - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:30 pm:

    -Anonymous- “You have a wonderful set up, just appreciate it, and don’t play the victim.” Really, you obviously haven’t been on the receiving end of any of the Governors cuts in programs that are out there to help all citizens of the State of Illinois, or you wouldn’t even make a comment like that. So, because any State Employee got off their duff, took the tests, and got hired, instead of you. So, all 45,000 Union members should pay for ALL of the states financial problems, instead of pointing to the Capitol. Geesh, want to share what you are smoking, must be some good stuff.

  15. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:31 pm:

    Haven’t you shared that your spouse a state employee? I’d say that’s a decent “stake in this.”

  16. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:32 pm:

    Fact check…employees already have time off for a death in family. It come out of an employee’s sick time.

  17. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:32 pm:

    Anon, that’s a good point but you have to compare apples to apples. The state is a very large employer, and a heavily unionized one. That’s the other employers, private or public, the state should be compared to, not small businesses or the large unionless such as Walmart.

  18. - Regular Illinoisian that is a state worker - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:34 pm:

    ==But the union has repeatedly rejected provisions that would benefit state workers, such as time off to mourn the loss of a loved one and the ability to earn additional pay based on hard work and performance.== Yeah, how about talk to some downstate Teamsters, and see how that has worked out for them. It’s nothing but a favoritism game. Some who work their butts off, and got it, truly deserve it, and more who didn’t deserve it, got it because they are suck ups.

  19. - El Conquistador - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:36 pm:

    The Rauner administration is just lame and tiresome. Much like rabid Trumpites they don’t really have any solutions only denigrate the other side and burn it down. How long before all catch on their schtick?

  20. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:39 pm:

    ==I thought the details of the negotiations were kept confidential. ==

    The Governor has posted his offer online. Other details of the talks have been published during the process. There’s not been much confidential about it. It’s hard to negotiate when both sides are trying to do it in the media.

  21. - Flynn's mom - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:43 pm:

    Why does IPI always address people as though they are uniformed and/or unable to understand without their help? Most state employees that I know make a decent wage but it’s not extravagant. It puts food on the table and enables them to live a middle class lifestyle. What have we come to?? Please sir, can I have some more? And, no I’m not a state worker.

  22. - steward - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    “But the union has repeatedly rejected provisions that would benefit state workers, such as time off to mourn the loss of a loved one and the ability to earn additional pay based on hard work and performance.”

    False. We have done no such thing. We have simply rejected the notion that we are at impasse.

  23. - Skeptic - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:58 pm:

    “I would suggest you compare the benefits and money to the private sector” Ok, fine. Your health insurance premiums just doubled. Are you happy about it?

  24. - yeah - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 3:58 pm:

    So how much does an IPI journalist (cough) make? Seems like an easy job for anyone with a creative imagination. Glad to see their spirit was not destroyed when the September 1st Strike failed to materialize.
    That is pretty rich, trying to get folks to think elected Union Presidents and elected contract negotiators are working against the membership they themselves belong. Contract negotiator’s are scratching their heads trying to figure out what bargaining positions are supposed to be in line for a 29% pay increase. Seriously, people will transfer for that kind of money. What job title at which agency is suppose to get a 29% pay raise IPI? You have ALL our home addresses and phone numbers from CMS. You have repeatedly contacted us as though you are a party to the negotiation.
    Please tell use, where can we get the juicy 29% pay raise? Inquiring minds seek your vast infallible knowledge.

  25. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    Skeptic- you’re right. Many plans have doubled in cost over the past few years. Other employers have shared that cost with employees. Why should the state use more tax revenue to insulate state employees from the real cost of their insurance when that money could be used for other services?

  26. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:08 pm:


    The issue is that the union is getting nothing in return. Negotiations are about getting something for giving up something. The Governor wants the union to give but doesn’t want to provide anything in return. What negotiator in their right mind would negotiate like that?

  27. - Skeptic - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:08 pm:

    Robert: Considering AFSCME is still sitting at the bargaining table waiting for the Governor, I don’t think it’s fair to say the union isn’t willing to share the cost.

  28. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:09 pm:

    Meaning why as a negotiator would you give up something for nothing in return?

  29. - Dead Head - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:12 pm:

    I’m a state retiree, unfortunately, I pay the same copays and deductible as full time employees; even though I now make less than half of what I did while working. I wish AFSCME would negotiate a health plan for retirees that’s more appropriate to their benefits.

  30. - John C - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:13 pm:

    Rauner couldn’t even look me in the eye the last time I mentioned to him that the new young state workers are being screwed by him.

    If you were hired in 2012 by the state you were hired at step 1C. That’s 3 steps below entry level pay.

    Then he came in and froze wages, thus keeping these workers below entry level pay.

    Rauner knows this because I told him in person but he shamefully said it was the unions fault while being all shifty eyed.

    Thanks Rauner for hurting a generation that’s already being screwed by things like student loans.

  31. - nadia - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:17 pm:

    More bereavement leave, quite the big bargaining chip, and believing it to be reasonable to allow this administration to oversee a merit pay/bonus system; looks like the AFSCME negotiators are doing their job just fine without IPI’s help.

  32. - Honeybear - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:18 pm:

    Finally IPI takes the field to try and counter our multi media campaign. Too late Illinois Propaganda Institute. We’ve already seized the narrative high ground.
    1) who believes you even amongst the public anymore? Let alone state workers who loath you as lickspittles.
    2)while you sat in your tower making feckless Madigan films, AFSCME and Labor has been out with real people, person to person building momentum.
    But why am I going off on you? I should thank you. We could never have united all labor like you have done by accident

  33. - Fixer - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:20 pm:

    IPI fails to mention that part of Rauner’s offer includes removing language that in order to subcontract, a bidder must beat the cost it would take state employees to do the work by 10%. Meaning he would have the option to privatize certain functions at a higher cost to the people of Illinois simply because he wants to.

    But I’m sure that’s in the best interest of the citizens of Illinois /s

  34. - Mr Pnutt - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:21 pm:

    All rauner has to do is wait. The ILRB will decide In his favor. Then when afscme strikes, not only will he have gotten what he wanted all along, the striking union employees will take the heat for the pain his amateur-hour ideology-based solutions will cause.

  35. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:21 pm:

    Sad that we middle class people are taking the bait and turning on each other like rats over a morsel of food. If you are a middle class state worker, you are not cruising the south of France on your yacht. Now, middle class folks might have some interest in why those cuisers on yachts can’t pay a bit more. Realizing that we do not have a graduated tax rate, some of the write-offs that allow high earners to pay significantly less than what they should be paying, those loop holes need to be reigned in.

    In the meantime, they watch with amusement as we all quibble over incomes of 50, 80, even 100k while 100k is deposited in their entertainment accounts each month.

  36. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:23 pm:

    Demo, your name isn’t listed anywhere. Tell us what you make and your benefit package.

    You say I don’t know you, that is correct and I still will not know you. List your compensation package.

  37. - Skeptic - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    I wonder what I said to get my comment held up?

  38. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:28 pm:

    What does my compensation package have to do with anything? What do you make and what is your benefit package? Who cares? I don’t. Hopefully it’s pretty good for you. That’s not even relevant to the discussion.

    I want to know what sort of math they are using for this $3B additional cost. My quick math dictates that they are including the current base costs in that number. That doesn’t equal “additional” cost to me.

  39. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:37 pm:

    Demo, I thought that would be your response. It is likely sweeter than most imagine.

  40. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:39 pm:

    Less than some I supervise. But, again, what I make isn’t relevant and the fact that you are so obsessed by it tells me a lot.

  41. - shakey - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:48 pm:

    Can someone tell me if the Illinois Labor Relations Board has a majority of Rauner appointees. If so isn’t an impasse ruling a done deal? Would appreciate a fair hearing but not much hope if Rauner picked em.

  42. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 4:52 pm:


    They ruled unanimously against the Governor’s petition to skip the arbitrator’s ruling and go straight to the board. I’m not sure we have real good insight into what they might do.

  43. - ABC123 - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 5:45 pm:

    If impasse is not declared by the labor board I am very interested in what Rauner’s approach to negotiations will be at that point. Actually negotiate or just drag the negotiations out for another year and say they are at impasse again. I honestly can’t see any progress being made with CMS without some sort of arbitration being involved.

  44. - Consideration - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 6:08 pm:

    I have an accounting degree and 14 years experience between the private sector and the state. I make 48k/ yr. If I Worked for an equal size employer (say, State Farm) with the same background my wages are easily 20 % higher and a similar healthcare package. With the state I have a pension vs 401k which, to me, makes up the salary difference and is the reason I took the job. I will most likely never top 70k with the state. At State Farm I could easily get over 100k as a accounting manager position. My state “package” is not comparable to the private sector…it’s a lower “package”

  45. - Retired - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 6:19 pm:

    Rainer continues the lie that cms group insurance is platinum. COGFA and the administrative law judge cite figures that don’t support the claim.

  46. - Add it up - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 7:10 pm:

    If the IPI wants to talk about platinum-level healthcare, why don’t they say anything about the free health care that Rauner gave away in the Teamsters contract. $0 premiums, $0 copays, $0 deductible as long as you take a yearly physical. AFSCME members would love to just keep what they have with their insurance or even pay a little more, but not double.

  47. - Curmudgeon - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 7:36 pm:

    == Demoralized: “still have not seen the math on that” == concerning that $3 billion in benefits Rauner & IPI claim AFSCME is asking for.

    That was covered by this column last summer; maybe June or July. The guvs office was including the cost of EXISTING benefits for all State employees — may have included university staff too — as well as the grand total of AFSCME’s opening request in bargaining last year, and other unexplained or dubious items.

    The Guvs office claimed then that AFSCMEs total package of proposed wages & benefits amounted to $525 million — that included present pay & benefits, not just proposed increases. AFSCME responded their total package was only about $495 million.

  48. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 10:33 pm:

    Concern trolling is a tactic of weak hacks with no game. It’s just so obvious.

  49. - Sunshine - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 10:56 pm:

    Why does the Tribune refer to the IPI as non partisan? They are part of a vast right wing network. Really.

  50. - btowntruth from forgotonnia - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 10:57 pm:

    Since when is $40,000 a year “extravagant”?

  51. - Ihatepolitics - Thursday, Oct 27, 16 @ 11:43 pm:

    As I’ve said before, Rauner loves that he has been able to turn the middle class private and middle class public against each other. IPI just fuels that fire and there are so many fools who fall for it.

  52. - Critic - Friday, Oct 28, 16 @ 12:37 am:

    A major cast savings could occur by paying bills on time. The published costs include the 8% interest on unpaid bills.

  53. - Frank - Friday, Oct 28, 16 @ 7:02 am:

    Let me make this clear I’m not an afsme member this is the biggest propaganda I have ever read who is this policy institute take note every day citizens are not falling for this stuff I will be voting accordingly Mr.rauner your 46 million spent hasn’t changed my mind

  54. - Term LImits, Like ONE!All - Friday, Oct 28, 16 @ 7:48 am:

    Those on ‘the State Trough’ should try their talents at owning their own small business in Illinois and paying ALL their health insurance costs & other ‘benefits’!

  55. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 28, 16 @ 8:37 am:

    As several commenters have mentioned above –middle class baited to turn on each other, this is a diversion tactic. Keep them fighting each other. Keeps the heat off of us.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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