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Rauner again imposes some of AFSCME’s ideas

Monday, Nov 28, 2016

* Press release…

Governor Bruce Rauner today announced the creation of two task forces aimed at improving workplace environments for state employees. The Health and Safety Task Force and the Workplace Violence Task Force, both part of the state’s last, best and final offer and proposed by the union during contract negotiations, will be comprised of representatives from the administration and the union.

“These task forces will be instrumental in improving the day-to-day work environment for state employees,” Governor Rauner said. “It is our hope that union leaders will work with our administration to get these union-proposed task forces off the ground quickly so that the state can benefit from their recommendations as soon as feasibly possible.”

The Health and Safety Task Force will identify state agencies, programs or specific worksites that have a high number of serious job-related injuries; analyze the principle cause of job-related employee injuries or illnesses; review current “best practices” to determine how other employers have been able to reduce job-related injuries and illnesses; and develop recommendations for changes to work environments or enhanced employee education and training. Recommendations from the task force are to be issued within twenty-four months of the initial meeting.

The Workplace Violence Task Force will develop recommendations to reduce the risk of violence in the workplace and protocols for employees to follow for when they believe they are faced with safety and health issues that could result in immediate harm.

To many eyes, this is going to look very reasonable on the governor’s part.

* Meanwhile, the SJ-R recently published an editorial entitled “Time for AFSCME to put its cards on the table”

Rauner is under no obligation to negotiate. We recommend that he does, but only — and this is mandatory in our eyes — if a hard-and-fast expiration date is set so both sides come ready to negotiate. AFSCME must come to the table with a proposal that indicates the union understands just how precarious Illinois’s finances are. […]

AFSCME told this editorial board it hasn’t presented its last/best offer. Here’s their chance: Publicly release it. Let the public know what you’re asking for, so taxpayers can judge the merits.

The union should not dismiss some of the pragmatic proposals that the Rauner administration says are in its plan. Overtime kicking in after working 40 hours would mirror the federal standard. Getting 2 times pay, instead of 2.5 times pay, for working the “super holidays” of Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas seems generous as the private sector typically gets time and a half.

While the motivations might have been purely political, two moves by the Rauner administration have made it seem responsive and inclusive. The union wanted bereavement leave for AFSCME members for the death of a child or stepchild — Rauner says he will implement it. The merit pay plan for the first year will provide $1,000 bonuses based on attendance, and the governor wants union input on who should receive it for the remainder of the contract.

The union needs to provide a different narrative if it expects any public pressure on the governor to return to the bargaining table. AFSCME must show taxpayers that it understands cuts to personnel costs will be needed to help the state improve its financial situation. But this also is its chance to provide evidence for what a doubling of health care costs would mean for employees making $30,000 a year, and offer alternatives so we have something to compare. Make it compelling, so the governor’s administration would look unreasonable to not give it consideration.

Thoughts?

…Adding… From Council 31…

Our committee was still negotiating when the Rauner Administration walked away back in January. There is no “last” offer to present because negotiations had not reached that point when the governor cut them short.

Ever since, we have repeatedly indicated our willingness to continue to negotiate, but Rauner has refused. It’s good that both the Journal-Register (and the Journal-Star) have now said the governor should return to the table. Lawmakers of both parties have said the same.

It’s also worth noting here that the ALJ found, and the board affirmed, that the administration committed multiple violations of labor law (unfair labor practices) in refusing to provide basic information requested by the union in order to develop further proposals on many core issues.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

132 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:42 am:

    Truth is that there is no point. Papers conveniently ignore the nuances and if you are the Tribune no matter how reasonable of a response AFSCME will provide, the Tribune will make it sound highly unreasonable. The court of public opinion is somewhat important, but Rauner frankly could care less. In particular when he has allies such as the Tribune to rely on.


  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:43 am:

    Looks like BVR is trying to draw AFSCME into implementing some of his contract so he can use it against them in the appeal.

    The part about the impact of the insurance hike on those making $30,000 is good. Keep that up and maybe go into some detail about how bad Tier 2 is.


  3. - Mr.Black - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    The State of the State Address is coming up soon. I wonder what Rauner will have to say with no budget and no AFSCME contract.


  4. - illinoised - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:47 am:

    =The union needs to provide a different narrative=

    Rich, I agree totally. The doubling of healthcare costs will be devastating and in IMHO should be the focus of their argument to the public.


  5. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, AFSCME is losing the public relations war. Rauner and team are co-opting the items that play well with the public.


  6. - Chicago_Downstater - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    It would be unwise for AFSCME to not heed the SJ-R’s advice. I’m pro-union and several of my friends are state workers, but it was hard to get a word of support for AFSCME in edgewise this Thanksgiving with some of my family members who used to be pro-union because Rauner is controlling the narrative so successfully.

    Time to cut losses because the bargaining table only gets more slanted from here on out.


  7. - Norseman - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    SJ-R to union. Cave without getting assurances of any compensatory concessions and then make the case on health insurance hikes.

    That’s not negotiations folks.

    To those union folks thinking a strike will be necessary, I would suggest that a cost-cutting measure be the elimination of an SJ-R subscription.


  8. - Deft Wing - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:53 am:

    Rauner is doing two things right: Pounding Madigan & AFSCME into oblivion. If both were boxing matches both would be Knock-Outs.


  9. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:53 am:

    For a supposed Republican, the governor sure does enjoy creatin’ and deployin’ task forces.


  10. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:53 am:

    == The doubling of healthcare costs will be devastating and in IMHO should be the focus of their argument to the public. ==

    In these days of increasing health care costs, even that isn’t going to play well unless you can (a) make the impact extremely personal and (b) demonstrate that it will actually cost the taxpayers more if the workers end up on Medicaid or welfare instead of working.


  11. - Ahoy! - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    Most Governor’s just give AFSME what it wants, I’m wondering if AFSME like Madigan has just forgot how to negotiate. In the public eye, Rauner is looking like the adult int he room.


  12. - SoIll - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:55 am:

    Based on the AFSCME response it seems like AFSCME is holding out for an appeal as well as letting the public know this will be a ULP strike and not an economic strike.


  13. - Norseman - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:01 am:

    === … used to be pro-union because Rauner is controlling the narrative so successfully. ===

    Recent elections indicates that a lot of “pro-union” and “used to be pro-union” folks are buying the narrative whether it is in their best interests or not. With Trump post-truth narrative winning the day, it looks like unions will be on the endangered species list shortly.


  14. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    AFSCME members you really need to start winning some PR fights in the Springfield area.

    Your friends, neighbors and even some of your relatives voted against your interest in the last election. The public is not in your corner in this fight, even the public who know you and your work well have chosen to elect lawmakers who don’t support you.


  15. - Steve Schnorf - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    From the union’s point of view putting their bottom line out publicly puts them in the position of negotiating against themselves from then on. Not that AFSCME haS a lot to lose by trying that approach, but I think the SJR is totally out of touch on this one. That train has left the station.


  16. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    From where I’m sitting, AFSCME’s only hope is winning an ULP claim in court … but that may still be a public relations loser.


  17. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:08 am:

    I agree with the SJ-R (boy I don’t say that too often). Release your best and final. I don’t believe it will hurt anything moving forward unless they continue to push for Large wage increases etc.


  18. - A Jack - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:09 am:

    A better come back might have been for AFSCME to say that they have been saying that prisons are understaffed for years now and it is unsafe. They don’t need a task force which is going to take two more years to deliver findings when the solution has been out there for a number of years.


  19. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:14 am:

    RNUG nope we won’t go on food stamps and Medicaid. We’ll simply get better jobs in the private sector. I’m already looking in MO for private sector social service jobs were my skills are in high demand. I’m so fed up. The best will leave. The worst will stay. I gotta say, when you lose someone like me who was hard core for public service, it’s a bad sign.

    I so don’t care anymore.


  20. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:15 am:

    I’d bet my mortgage AFSCME has their best/final offer. They’ve had it prepared since they pushed the first arbitration bill. They just know the public would be outraged by it.


  21. - Reality Check - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:23 am:

    It is interesting (odd? funny?) how commenters above believe they know more than anyone else.

    For example, repeated polls have shown the public strongly supports state workers vs the governor - yet commenters claim ‘AFSCME is losing the PR war’ … based on the editorials of boards that endorsed Rauner and agree with his anti-worker ideology?

    Another example - the union patiently explains Rauner law-breaking and walking away from the table are preventing further negotiations, yet commenters claim the union actually has presented a last/best offer it is hiding?

    Um … OK.


  22. - jimbo - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:24 am:

    We should listen to the SJ-R that has not given the reporters a raise in 8 years? Maybe the SJ-R should negotiate a fair contract before they tell others how to act.


  23. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    AFSCME needs to fight just the bad items in the State’s last offer:

    Insist that the savings clause remain for any outsourcing … that’s easy to fight, just describe it as insider dealing and political favoritism.

    Insist on back pay from previous years be paid immediately … easy to describe as the State welching on owed money

    Give up on the COLA’s for the life of the contract, or agree to take only 1/2 of the previous federal CPI each year … Can claim the union is sacrificing for the good of the State

    Counter the health insurance increases by agreeing to 1/2 the requested increase for the same coverage … Can claim meeting the State half-way

    Can the step increase for anyone at Step 4 or above (but only if the above CPI based COLA is a accepted) … again, longer term employees sacrificing for the good of the State

    Agree to the 40 hour change but insist on no “off the books OT”… let’s be honest here, a lot of employees already do 40 hours just to keep their head above water at their job, but don’t get paid for it. 40 instead of 37.5 will take away a talking point.

    All of these can be spun as positives on the union side and the State’s ignoring it can put the State in a bad light.

    So what I’m saying is puically put a REVISED proposal on the table that it would be hard for the State to ignore.


  24. - Liberty - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    Opportunity for union to make its case on some of these misrepresented and misunderstood issues.


  25. - Anon Downstate - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    There seems to be a big hole in this entire labor negotiating process. Where’s Democratic leadership standing?

    It seems like AFSCME is standing out there with few friends. That’s telling.


  26. - Earnest - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    >I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, AFSCME is losing the public relations war. Rauner and team are co-opting the items that play well with the public.

    Strongly agree. I don’t see them winning the public over with an argument that Rauner didn’t negotiate fairly. I also don’t see them winning the argument that their healthcare costs will go up and they won’t get any raises. I’m not saying they’re not good points, I just don’t see them winning the support of voters, at least how they’re being presented now.


  27. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    -Honeybear-,

    You can just change your commute. Not everyone easily can.


  28. - Anon - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    1.) The labor market is a thing.

    2.) The labor market is a thing.

    3.) The labor market is a thing.

    The state’s financial situation doesn’t dictate the wages that the state needs to pay to remain a competitive employer.

    Do you want to retain the best and brightest public employees?

    Do you want to compete with the private sector for the best and brightest folks?

    If the answer is no, then let the state cut pay to it’s employees because of their inability to maintain taxes at a rate to pay for the services people expect.

    And then we can see what happens when we have government by folks that don’t have better options.

    It’s really easy for someone to calculate what the approximate current value of a “wage freeze” is at the start of their career. Take their age, subtract it from 67 and then multiply that result by the number of years, the amount of the step raise, and then multiply that by four years of lost step raises.

    You’re expecting these young folks to leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table for the rest of their careers because Illinois can’t be responsible enough to raise enough revenue to pay for the stuff they like.

    Why would anyone stay if they have the option to leave?


  29. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    “For example, repeated polls have shown the public strongly supports state workers vs the governor - yet commenters claim ‘AFSCME is losing the PR war’”

    However, when it comes time to backing up their support for state workers, the Springfield area with large numbers of state workers, has twice in the last six months has rejected candidates that not only are supported by the Governor, but are openly hostile to AFSCME.


  30. - Johnnie F. - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:36 am:

    I’m sure the taskforces will meet a few times and institute some more training videos for employees to view…that’s always the solution. How many more of these “meaningless contract positives” press releases can the newspapers propagandize for Rauner? The public relations war has been lost b/c both parties have demonized state workers as cover for their decades long failure to fund the pension system.


  31. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    RNUG we’re leaving in droves for the private sector.


  32. - JB13 - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:38 am:

    Step 1 for winning the PR war: Stop acting as if state workers are sacrificing for the good of the world by being state workers.
    If you think you can find better jobs in the private sector, then go. Do it. Enjoy your new 401k, like the rest of us.
    Step 2: Actually engage in the PR war. The unions have gotten so accustomed to Illinois politicians doing whatever they want, they think that all they need to do is sanctimoniously kick and scream a bit and everyone will cave. Not anymore. Too many people recognize Illinois is broke - or very close to it. And that the unions have played a big role in it - regardless of their sanctimonious rants about past and current Illinois governors.
    Step 3: Acknowledge Illinois is actually in financial trouble. You can fairly represent your workers without making the solution to everything be “MORE TAXES.” “Shut up and pay up, because Constitution” may sound eminently reasonable in your minds, but is not a winning strategy, so long as taxpayers actually have a say - which is why Rauner is sitting in the governor’s mansion today.


  33. - Johnnie F. - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:47 am:

    The state could also tax retirement income above a certain amount to get back a reasonable % of that tier one pension money.


  34. - Reality Check - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    the Springfield area with large numbers of state workers, has twice in the last six months has rejected candidates that not only are supported by the Governor, but are openly hostile to AFSCME

    Actually not true. The McCann-Benton primary was a labor-Rauner proxy war in this region and Rauner was crushed.

    In the general, Jimenez et al then went to great pains to pose as friends of labor. Unrelated, their campaigns were aided by the Trump wave.

    So the political scorecard shows a split decision - with unions winning the only race that was clearly defined as Rauner v labor.


  35. - Piece of Work - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    Honeybear, good luck with that private sector thingy. They don’t give you a sick day a month, they don’t give you a big pension when you retire, your health insurance won’t be close in cost to the state plans, you won’t get the holidays off like the public sector, etc.

    You get the picture


  36. - Stones - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    It’s wise to feed the turkey before slaughtering it.


  37. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:55 am:

    “Actually not true. The McCann-Benton primary was a labor-Rauner proxy war in this region and Rauner was crushed.”

    Actually, you are wrong when it comes to Sangamon County, look who won it in the McCann-Benton primary.


  38. - to the point - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:57 am:

    And remember to show up for work on time with that private sector gig. Unlike bargaining unit members of AFSMCE you won’t get 17 free passes before you start with a hand slap!!


  39. - PoW - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:57 am:

    Reality Check—Wojicki Jimenez won by about 23 points with the D running ad after ad after ad.

    Trump helped in the county, but not 23 points worth.


  40. - Nick Name - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    Sangamon County narrowly went with Benton in the primary, the only county in McCann’s state senate district to do so.


  41. - Ebenezer - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:01 pm:

    @ Anon 11:30
    Yes the labor market is a thing. And that is why AFSCME is losing the PR war.

    Many of the items AFSCME if fighting to hold on to disappeared from the private sector marker many years ago.

    Health insurance premiums, dependent costs, deductibles have all become major costs for families.

    Overtime after 37.5 hours, really?

    Outsourcing is a risk most employees face every day.
    (focus on savings.)

    Guaranteed pensions, those disappeared for most people decades ago.

    So some people are going to look at the fiscal crisis and conclude its time to bring state employment closer to market terms.


  42. - Reality Check - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:08 pm:

    @GMAB, way to move the goal posts.


  43. - Ebenezer - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    The above is not a criticism of state employees, an argument for defaulting on the pension contract, a justification of the current state of the private sector labor market, or even a slap at AFSCME for doing thier job.

    It is just trying to point out that when AFSCME is trying to make their case to the public, most of the public lives in a very different world.


  44. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:14 pm:

    I don’t feel great about suggesting it, but how about a Tier 3 for future hires?


  45. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    “- Reality Check - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:08 pm:”

    @GMAB, way to move the goal posts.

    Not at all, I’m simply pointing out the county with the highest concentration of state workers have twice in the last year, rejected pro-AFSCME candidates to elect por-Rauner candidates. Not moving the goalpost, simply pointing out AFSCME has a PR problem in their own backyard.


  46. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    Piece of work. It’s only been the past three years that I worked in the public sector. All my benefits were better there. Which is the case for most well educated professionals. I chose to work for the state because of my desire to return to public service. I was an officer in the Navy then went to the private sector then wanted to go back to doing something for the common good instead of private profit. So bite me if you think I’m going to a worse situation. It’s better out there financially in my case to be in the private sector.


  47. - Sue - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    The union won’t strike. Implement and move on. The Union will wait for 2018 and hope the Dems win the G


  48. - Reality Check - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:23 pm:

    @GMAB you said in the Springfield area. Then you said in Sangamon.

    In any event, we’re both right about the electoral outcomes, depending how you define the parameters — just as I’m right that repeated polls have shown, both statewide and specifically in the Springfield area — that the public strongly supports state workers vs Rauner in this matter.


  49. - m - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:24 pm:

    According to BLS, 15.2% of Illinois workers are union members.
    The other 84.8% don’t get overtime until 40 hours (with many not getting it all, i.e. the reason for the Obama overtime rule that is held up in court).
    The other 84.8% likely don’t get 12 holidays off per year. (13 if you factor in the 2-day Thanksgiving holiday)
    The other 84.8% have already had their healthcare costs skyrocket.
    That 15.2% includes lots of members of other unions that have seen the same things happen as well.
    This will be a difficult pr fight for AFSCME to win.


  50. - Responsa - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:30 pm:

    == just as I’m right that repeated polls have shown, ==

    My continuing advice to my friends here about polls still stands. Whether they support your position or do not support your position, don’t pay them too much heed. Be cynical in a practical way. Take the findings with a grain of salt. Always.


  51. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:30 pm:

    Sue, I think you’re probably right. We’re going to eat it. But move on we will not. We’ll eat it and it will destroy the workforce from the inside out. In the next six months you will see mass retirement, replaced by no one, the younger generation will leave, replaced by no one, management that can leave, will leave, not to be replaced by anyone. You will be left with a non functional workforce. Private sector workforce is very different from a public sector workforce. Oh and the technology fixes of DoIT. Just ask any deputy director how well those efforts are working out. Yeah, technology can’t save us. Go ahead and kill the workforce. It doesn’t matter what I feel or think any more. The die is cast.


  52. - Consideration - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:34 pm:

    People at my agency are beginning to leave, too. They are getting more money, better insurance and just as many days off as they currently have. 401k is better than a tier 2 pension. State is taking 6 months to fill a position - our agency is nearly empty.


  53. - m - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:36 pm:

    I know and interact with a lot of people from a different walks of life, politically, union and non-union, etc. The only ones I hear complaining about Rauner are AFSCME members.
    I don’t live in Chicago, but I can tell you throughout most of the rest of the state, whether they “support state workers” or not, there is not a whole lot of sympathy for the AFSCME contract negotiations.
    I hear a lot more of, “I don’t agree with everything he’s doing or how he’s doing it, But Rauner is trying to do what’s been needed for a long time.”
    Whether they’re right or not, that’s the sentiment of most people I hear.


  54. - PoW - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:48 pm:

    Reality Check, Springfield is in Sangamon County.

    Honeybear, the state workforce will be just fine.


  55. - Anon1234 - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    I’m a bit past mid career as a state worker. I’ve been merit comp before and they truly get the worst of all worlds. The tier 1 pension is the only thing keeping me working for the state but I still have quite a few years before I can retire. I recently was recruited for a private sector job making 20% more working 4 days (approx 36 hrs) a week that I turned down because of the state pension.

    I think many afscme members would agree to rnugs offer, but I think afscme would be foolish to put out an offer right now. There are still many moving parts with the courts. Eventually, when the union decides to strike, I’m guessing they will have to make clear what it will take to end the strike. And it will be critical for the public to want the strike to end. Otherwise the strike will fail.

    For those who say the union won’t strike, I’ll be surprised if the union doesn’t strike. Many of us are already looking at other jobs, so a strike to keep what we are currently doing isn’t as scary as you’d think.


  56. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    Businesses declare bankruptcy and close it’s doors. Those who compare state services with private sector business does care to see the big picture. Businesses sell you products many times you don’t need. What would happen if you need a state service and no one is there?


  57. - Fixer - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    RNUG for governor 2018


  58. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:53 pm:

    PoW. Do you work in the state workforce? You want to bet? Of course you would since it’s not your family that’s on the line.


  59. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    I doubt many $70k/year janitors will look for work in the private sector. Same for most IDOT and IDOC employees. As for the underpaid professionals working for the state, ditch the union and let professionals negotiate their own pay like everywhere else.


  60. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:55 pm:

    Remember PoW, Illinois had the smallest workforce per capita BEFORE Rauner. CMS won’t even release what it is now.


  61. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 12:56 pm:

    = private sector job making 20% more =

    Even if you put that entire 20% into your 401k you’d come out behind in the private sector retirement wise. Oh, and work another 10 years or so.


  62. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:01 pm:

    “The only ones I hear complaining about Rauner are AFSCME members.”

    That has to be a bad joke.


  63. - PoW - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:10 pm:

    Honeybear, what will health insurance cost you in the private sector? What does it cost you now? And, factor in this November—a state worker received 4 days off in the month, 2 more than most private sector employees received.

    The benefits are superior with the state.


  64. - PoW - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:10 pm:

    Honeybear, what will health insurance cost you in the private sector? What does it cost you now? And, factor in this November—a state worker received 4 days off in the month, 2 more than most private sector employees received.

    The benefits are superior with the state.


  65. - Huh? - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:22 pm:

    PoW - Please explain how the health insurance benefits are better with the State. At least on the private side, the insurance company is paying the bills. The Self Insured State is nearly 2 years behind on paying health insurance bills.


  66. - RetiredStateEmployee - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:24 pm:

    It seems like everyone is missing the most important point. No matter what happens to AFSCME, the budget deficit remains. The article is written with the implication that this is the main solution to the budget deficit. Of course with that view, AFSCME loses. But the math would suggest that even if there were no state employees, the state would still need more money.


  67. - Reality Check - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:26 pm:

    @PoW employee premiums are actually comparable or higher in the private sector if you compare similar risk pools (ie large employers). And that’s status quo - before Rauner would double employee premiums overnight.


  68. - Reality Check - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:30 pm:

    Sorry, typo. State premiums are higher THAN the private sector now.


  69. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:31 pm:

    PoW maybe the benefits for you category are better but not for educated professionals. Forgive the elitist tone. I don’t know how to say it otherwise. What you armchair pundits fail to realize is that government actually function not because a legislator legislated it to, or because a secretary, road worker, or CO does their job. They are vital but the Goverment is not comprised of each end of this spectrum. It functions because of the thousands of educated professionals in between who interpret and execute statue,law and regulation, managing the public service workers (janitors,road workers , secretaries FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD not for profit and private benefit. The middle, the heart of the Goverment is what is being killed. Take middle management and skilled workers/professional out of any company and show me what happens. Yeah, good idea. Let’s force out the middle level of employee to save costs! Even better let’s pay them the lowest scale. Do you get why people are leaving public service?


  70. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:49 pm:

    AFSCME has called on Gov. Rauner to negotiate and not dictate. They are not going to negotiate with themselves. AFSCME will continue to call on Rauner to negotiate and since he won’t, they will move ahead with a court challenge that they have a good chance of receiving some relief.


  71. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 1:49 pm:

    I don’t know about that Honeybear. At my company everyone from the janitor to the CEO has the same health insurance. I know many companies have Executive benefits for the very top, but believe most professionals get the same as the line workers as far as benefits.


  72. - PoW - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:04 pm:

    Simple question Honeybear—What are you paying for health insurance under a state plan and what would you pay for an identical plan in the private sector?


  73. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:08 pm:

    Robert the 1rst sorry I think you were making a rebuttal point but I failed to understand it. Could you explain. Also sorry I took a shot at you. I apologize. I’m just really frustrated and angry at the continual demeaning and deviation that I get as a competant and caring public servant. I give really good care to the poor disabled and elderly every day here in the poverty epicenter of Southern Illinois and I’m truly tired of how I’m treated. Regardless I lost my cool and put a shot across your bow


  74. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:08 pm:

    ==what would you pay for an identical plan in the private sector?==

    That depends on where you work. My mom paid less that state employees pay when she worked in the private sector for the same or better coverage. Have a friend who pays slightly more. Not sure how any of that is relevant though.


  75. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    AFSCME has continuously been outmaneuvered. And their PR is absolutely horrible. The game is over. Time to regroup and prepare for the next election.

    And, if I were in the union, I’d be looking for different leadership because Roberta Lynch didn’t do her members any favors. She tried to wait them out and lost on that gamble.


  76. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:19 pm:

    Signing the tolling agreement with Rauner was a huge mistake. He was under pressure to deal or face a strike but AFSCME let him stall it out and avoid paying raises for (probably) his whole time in office.


  77. - golfman-r - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:29 pm:

    PoW - bad practice to cherry pick the issues. Of course you would pay more in the private sector for insurance. Try - what would your salary be in the private sector compared to the state. But, keep in mind that lots of jobs at the state have no “identical” job in the private sector. My opinion, for a professional, the state has better benefits and private sector better pay. Maybe a wash for now, cut the state benefits and ya have to say where is the money.


  78. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:30 pm:

    I was just saying fringe benefits at a lot of companies are the same across the board. The forklift operator has the same health insurance as the CPA or manager with a Master’s degree.


  79. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:35 pm:

    PoW. Well it’s not easy. Tried to get a quote online but I bailed out when they wanted to set up an account. I’ll dig up my last private sector benefits and ask my friend who still works there how much it’s gone up. I’ll do it absolutely apples to apples. Just give me some time. It will be worth it to finally prove at least my own case. You’ll come back and say that’s not representative but you won’t listen anyway. You didn’t answer my truly simple question of whether you work in the public sector?


  80. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:40 pm:

    Piece of Work, I work for a private university. I get holidays off, I get at least a day of PTO per month. I have decent insurance and a TIAA-Cref plan the university pays more than half into and it’s fully paid up–if I left tomorrow I could cash it in and get all of it except the taxes I would owe.

    So it’s possible to be well taken care of in the private sector.


  81. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:48 pm:

    It certainly is possible to be well taken care of in the private sector. I’d argue a private university is a poor example though. Lot’s of public dollars flowing through there. Would be similar to calling a military contractor private sector. Technically true of course.


  82. - Skeptic - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    “let professionals negotiate their own pay like everywhere else.” Negotiate with whom? If there were ever a path for rampant cronyism and favoritism (which is waste, fraud and abuse, remember?) to play out, that would be it. Why do you think there’s a union in the first place? Why do you think all those PSAs went into AFSCME? At least in the private sector you can argue how your job adds to the bottom line. But this ain’t the private sector.


  83. - Dandy Edward - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:01 pm:

    Can someone tell me if these state workers will recieve social security and medicare ? Secondly what will be the health care premuims for individuals and families if they double ?


  84. - Present - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:12 pm:

    Honey bear, UPS pays for my nephews ins. He is part time. low copays. 10.00 across the board for drs. My friends son works at UHaul. 19.00 for him NO co-pays.


  85. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    Also when you compare pay and benifits big companies will usally offer better pay and benifits than small companies.


  86. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:27 pm:

    == I don’t feel great about suggesting it, but how about a Tier 3 for future hires? ==

    Since Tier 2 fully pays for the reduced pension / retirement benefits with just employee contributions, please explain how a new Tier 3 would save money? How can you beat no contributions by the State?


  87. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:32 pm:

    == Can someone tell me if these state workers will recieve social security and medicare ? ==

    If you are a “coordinated” member, then a retired State employee will receive Social Security and Medicare exactly the same as any employee who pays into the system and has minimum of the required 40 quarters. A lot of AFSCME members, but not all, fall into the “coordinated” category.

    Answering the health insurance cost I can’t do because I haven’t seen the proposed numbers.


  88. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:42 pm:

    @Demoralized - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    =AFSCME has continuously been outmaneuvered. And their PR is absolutely horrible. The game is over. Time to regroup and prepare for the next election. =

    Not sure how this will end, but the game is not over. This is going to the state courts and will take months to litigate.


  89. - PoW - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:42 pm:

    Honeybear, I do not work in the public sector, but my wife used to. On talk radio a couple of weeks ago in Sangamon County, a guy called in to talk insurance. He said he has state coverage for himself, his wife and 2 kids and it cost about $300 per month. He considered leaving state government and becoming self employed. The cost of health insurance? About $2000 per month.

    I know people who have worked for the state for decades and make 6 figures. IMO, there is no way they would make that in the private sector. Most I have talked to readily admit it.


  90. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:47 pm:

    PoW:

    You cannot compare the healthcare premiums in state government to someone who is self employed. Apples and oranges is a nice way of describing that comparison.


  91. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:47 pm:

    == Can someone tell me if these state workers will recieve social security and medicare ? ==

    Some are and some are not. In my position we were coordinated and will receive SS benefits in addition to a pension. There is a thing called a “social security offset” that lowers your pension by 1/2 the amount of your spouses SS survivor benefit. This amount is reduced by the SS benefit that you spouse has earned in their own right. This is of course in the event that you proceed your spouse. Exmple, your spouse has a survivors benefit of $2,000 and a SS benefit of their own of $1,500. The difference is $500 and the pension that the survivor gets is reduced by $250 which is 1/2 of the $500. This is separate and in addition to the 50% reduction in your pension that the survivor receives.


  92. - ANON - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:49 pm:

    Did Rauner go to IL OSHA who enforce OSHA regulations to public sector workers….NOPE, even though they would be a great resource for these taskforces…In fact I know someone personally in that division and he says it’s a mess because of Rauner and what he is doing to state workers.

    Those are state employees and Rauner doesn’t trust state employees because they are probably in the union.

    Also, if you live anywhere near Springfield get ready for the worst economy since the great depression.

    Springfield already has seen 3 million in sales tax drop and the city officials stated it’s because of State Workers not being certain of their future.

    It’s only going to get worst in central IL…a lot worse than most of us can even comprehend because it’s never been this bad in anyone’s lifetime


  93. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    To offer a baseball metaphor, this thing is in the 8th inning and the state is up 4 to 1 in the bottom of the inning. The state is the home team and is still up to bat. AFSCME has their number 5, 6 and 7th place hitters coming to the plate and the state has their relief specialist on the mound. Not looking great for AFSCME, but far from over. As yogi would say, the fat lady has not sang yet. Also, for retirees if the health care proposals do get implemented (last final offer) then this thing may go to court to defend Kanerva vs Weems. As RNUG has pointed out, the key may be who will bring the suit and how will it be funded. The huge diminishment in health care benefits that are proposed would be a “back-door” premium increase that the courts may not look fondly on.


  94. - John - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 3:55 pm:

    Consideration

    You must work where I work( I know you don’t). We are losing all the good people to private sector because it’s significantly better for them there(I’m looking too).

    It’s also taking 6+ months to replace them and we have a 6 month training requirement brought on by feds. We literally have lost over half our workforce and now are having to give back so much of our federal grant because we have empty positions…

    So even in a position like mine where there are federal mandates with revenue Rauner doesn’t care. We are losing so much money(Like nearly a million a year) by giving it back to the feds. We are 50/50 matched so Rauner has no excuse. He is punishing us essentially.


  95. - PoW - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:08 pm:

    ANON @3:49——-Congrats, you win the drama queen post of the day.


  96. - Bella - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:17 pm:

    Pow…. What are the positions of the people that you know which paid 6 figures.


  97. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:56 pm:

    “I know people who have worked for the state for decades and make 6 figures. IMO, there is no way they would make that in the private sector. Most I have talked to readily admit it.”

    I have a feeling the people you spoke to were Engineers or Lawyers or Doctors, etc..


  98. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 4:59 pm:

    Uh, no, Anon @4:56. Go take a look at the state salary database.


  99. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:08 pm:

    ““These task forces will be instrumental in improving the day-to-day work environment for state employees,” Governor Rauner said.”

    What a joke! No governor your task forces will NOT improve the work environment for state employees. However, improving the work environment for state employees is not actually your goal. Is it?


  100. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:12 pm:

    “The Workplace Violence Task Force will develop recommendations to reduce the risk of violence in the workplace and protocols for employees to follow for when they believe they are faced with safety and health issues that could result in immediate harm.”

    WHAT is this really about? Besides prisons, has there ever been a risk of violence in the State of IL workplace?


  101. - Mama - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:16 pm:

    Look for AFSCME to show their cards to the courts.


  102. - Mama - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:20 pm:

    It appears Rauner wants to piece meal the union contract the same way he did with the budgets. We all know that did not work very well.


  103. - Responsa - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:31 pm:

    ==Look for AFSCME to show their cards to the courts.==

    That is well and good Mama, but “the courts” do not fix the larger PR problem that AFSCME has going–and may make it worse.


  104. - Bella - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:34 pm:

    I guess decades of experience and loyalty aren’t expected to amount to anything Apparently some people think one is supposed to make the same salary in year 30 as you did in year 1.


  105. - Food Sup - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:36 pm:

    Bravo RNUG! Wish you were my Rep.


  106. - CrispyCritter - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:50 pm:

    Some say State benefits are overly generous. I have a friend who works in a warehouse who gets 5 more vacation days than I do, his healthcare for the entire family is about $300/month, he also get 10 vacation days a year, and the company pays into his retirement, has matching funds to a 401K, and he gets bonuses each year in the form of stock options. He also works 37.5 hours a week (8 hour day with paid 1/2 hr lunch), and gets overtime for time over 8 hours. Yet people say AFSCME is unreasonable?


  107. - CrispyCritter - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:53 pm:

    As per my previous post, this company must not be one that our Governor has stock in.


  108. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 5:58 pm:

    Anon/pow. Example please


  109. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 6:45 pm:

    =I have a feeling the people you spoke to were Engineers or Lawyers or Doctors, etc..=

    What about plumbers?

    http://accountability.illinois.gov/Employees/Position/Employees.aspx?Year=0&Title=32900&Agency=426


  110. - Anon - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 8:01 pm:

    Probably not lawyers. Starting salary for a Technical Advisor II (attorney) at Step 1c is $58,476.

    “I know people who have worked for the state for decades and make 6 figures. IMO, there is no way they would make that in the private sector. Most I have talked to readily admit it.”

    I have a feeling the people you spoke to were Engineers or Lawyers or Doctors, etc..


  111. - Hottot - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 8:47 pm:

    AFSCME should talk about how the state does not have to show any cost savings to AFSCME when it considers bids to privatize. Rauner’s implementing parts of his proposal that are favorable to the public to show he’s not unreasonable, however like any politician, the real intent is beneath the surface of goodies


  112. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 9:31 pm:

    ==WHAT is this really about? Besides prisons, has there ever been a risk of violence in the State of IL workplace?==

    Unfortunately, yes! Many times employees have been physically assaulted by management - one of the infinite reasons we need union support. Try reporting a physical assault on management without it in this politically charged environment and see if you ever get a raise or promotion.


  113. - PoW - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 9:37 pm:

    folks, just Google state of Illinois salary database and see how many people make 6 figure salaries. Mind boggling


  114. - Anon - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 9:50 pm:

    Yes, people can make six figure salaries if they put in eight or more years. The steps max out at 8. But the entry level pay is terrible.


  115. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 9:56 pm:

    The jealousy and utter contempt for those “not me” by some is sadly more about people’s anger and jealousy than “looking out for taxpayers(?)

    “I don’t make X, they shouldn’t make X”


  116. - 1st Time Union - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 10:59 pm:

    First of all, I came from private industry 2-1/2 years ago. I currently need a back injection very badly, but it costs $250 through the State and only $80 through my former employer. I need about 4 injections a year, but since I can’t afford the extra cost, I suffer with pain every day. Secondly, I hear my insurance costs could go up an extra $800 to $1000 per month, which I cannot pay at this time, let alone with no increases in salary! Those kind of increases all at once will cause a lot of people to go bankrupt, let alone what it will do to the economy!


  117. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:01 pm:

    You’re better than that OW. Market rates should be considered when discussing public dollars for public compensation. To pretend people are simply “jealous” isn’t solving anything.


  118. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:07 pm:

    - Robert the 1st -

    With respect…

    ===folks, just Google state of Illinois salary database and see how many people make 6 figure salaries. Mind boggling===

    Shaming isn’t looking out for taxpayers. Shaming is “… but I make… ” but phrased less… jealously.


  119. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:08 pm:

    Then perhaps those people should stop complaining about what other people make.


  120. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:20 pm:

    Then AFSCME needs to work on their message Demo.

    Their biggest advocate on this blog is the most guilty of

    =complaining about what other people make=

    To be fair, you mentioned that above.


  121. - Robert the 1st - Monday, Nov 28, 16 @ 11:24 pm:

    The AFSCME message thing, that is. The whole complaining about what others make is from previous dates.


  122. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 12:03 am:

    Apparently I’m supposed to care if someone makes 6 figures.


  123. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 12:07 am:

    And yes AFSCME needs a professional PR firm


  124. - (Un)Happy State Employee - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 5:57 am:

    OW @ 9:56pm
    Well said. This constant questioning of our salaries is based on misinformation. I remember several months ago when Rauner was holding his dialogs with hand-picked random people to discuss his TA issues. One local CEO complained about “unskilled State workers’” high salaries.

    The fact is that most State jobs require a very high skill level. The complainers should look at the job posting site (Google “Work4IL”) and read the job descriptions. The bar has been set very high for required skillsets except for the lower paying entry level positions. Most can be classified as professional or para-professional.

    Those of us in the $50-$120 salary range are adminstrating complex programs and must be able to interpret the Statute, Rule & Policy that governs those programs. We had to pass specific tests and testing standards to demonstrate our abilities, knowledge, experience, etc., to even be eligible to apply for our jobs.

    What I would ask the public is; do you really want unskilled, underpaid, disgruntled State workers deciding how to expend your tax dollars while being pre-occupied with how they will pay their children’’s medical bills? Or would you rather have skilled staff who are paid commensurate with the requirements of the job and the knowledge & experience that they bring to that job so that their focus is on the work they do on behalf of the taxpayers?


  125. - John - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 6:31 am:

    The problem with the general public is they assume that since some state workers make 6 digit salaries that all state workers have it made.

    I know people in the state stuck at step 1C which means they are 3 steps behind entry level pay. These people make a lot less than private sector employees.

    Let’s keeplumping everyone into the same group because you know that works everytime.


  126. - PoW - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 7:19 am:

    Whether you agree or don’t agree with me is not relevant. The public perceives state workers having excess time off, excess sick time allowances, large pensions with 3% compounded annual increases, great low cost insurance plans and high salaries. The private sector has suffered with layoffs, insurance premiums skyrocketing, increased workload with little pay increase(that profit thingy comes into play)

    You won’t get much compassion from the general public. That is the message which was reflected in the elections.


  127. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 7:47 am:

    - Piece of Work -

    ===You won’t get much compassion from the general public. That is the message which was reflected in the elections===

    Cite please?

    http://bit.ly/2gF7NB8

    You may want to sit out a few plays - Piece of Work -

    Thanks.


  128. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 7:55 am:

    PoW:

    You’re doing a wonderful job continuing to make the “it’s not fair” argument. Grow up.


  129. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 8:39 am:

    Right now for an HMO, I pay $186 for myself, $159 for two dependents for Health. For Dental I pay $11 for myself and $12 for both dependents ($6 each) for a total of $374 per month. According to the Last, Best and Final offer, I will soon be paying $376 for myself, $322 for dependents, $20 for my dental insurance and $45 for dental for the dependents for a total of $763. Now since my husband is a University employee, we will take a double hit. Our total per month will be $1,154. This is a loss of $656 per month for our family. this is a significant amount for any middle class family in my opinion. Keep in mind for this monthly amount, nothing is free. everything has a significant co pay so this is the amount if no one needs any medical care at all. To go to the dentist each member of the family has a $175 deductible for example.


  130. - Small Town Girl - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 8:40 am:

    8:39 am is me.


  131. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:21 am:

    I feel you Small town. We are two state worker family as well. Spouse shut me down on revealing our numbers on here but we’re at about 500 a month for a family of 4. About 6k a year. If it doubles we’re going to really be in the pain locker. We may have to leave the jobs we love.


  132. - Anon - Tuesday, Nov 29, 16 @ 9:22 am:

    I really thought the ILRB would issue its written decision before Thanksgiving. I wonder what they’re waiting for. It doesn’t sound like their opinion will be particularly scholarly and nuanced.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Gov. Rauner receives Fletcher Award from National Black Chamber of Commerce
* Nursing Home Violations for Second Quarter 2018

  
* Huawei working on smartphone with a display hole for the camera instead of a notch
* Sony is making a limited edition ‘Amazing Red’ PS4 Pro for Spider-Man’s launch
* Cheaper Huawei phones are set for a big boost with Kirin 710 chipset
* Microsoft says hackers already targeted three 2018 midterm candidates
* Scooter startup Bird will discount rides for people in low-income brackets
* TSMC expects high smartphone SoC demands in contrast to cryptocurrency mining chips
* Samsung and Xiaomi increased their dominance of India’s mobile market last quarter

* Super Stats Pack: Minors
* The worst managers in White Sox history
* White Sox Minor League Update: July 18, 2018
* Former Pioneer inks with White Sox, assigned to Winston-Salem
* Diamondbacks 'stayed engaged,' fell short on Manny Machado ...
* Drew Pomeranz sharp in rehab assignment, giving Boston Red Sox a po...
* Everything that's gone right this year in the White Sox ...


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