* From AFSCME Council 31…
Documents recently provided to AFSCME by an anonymous whistleblower inside state government reveal that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has established a new division dedicated to restricting employees’ rights inside his Department of Central Management Services.
Dubbed the Labor and Employment Advisory Division (LEAD), the group is intended to “gain and maintain control over the workforce”, documents show.
Among the group’s stated goals are to “mitigate external interference with employer-employee relationship” (a bit of management jargon that’s usually code for union-busting) and “implement systems that reward and recognize high performers” (a euphemism for so-called “merit pay” schemes that open the door to favoritism and political influence).
Its listed “tactical objectives” include to “invigorate management’s ability to discipline … employees” and “reduce unionization among managers and supervisors”. The administration has already begun a systematic effort to strip union representation from employees who years ago were found not to be managerial and thus have the legal right to join a union.
On a list of supposed “tools for building a better workforce”, first is “Reinvigorated employee discipline”. Also noted are so-called “merit pay” and “managed competition” (aka privatization) schemes.
Five subsequent pages dated Nov. 2, 2016 list “LEAD lawyers” assigned to each agency of state government.
“These documents reveal Bruce Rauner’s adversarial attitude toward the tens of thousands of state employees who provide vital services to Illinois residents,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “He won’t work toward a budget for priorities like schools and human services, but he’s diverting public resources to intimidate workers and undermine their union rights.
“State workers do difficult jobs, often without adequate resources. They protect kids, respond to emergencies, care for the vulnerable and keep us safe,” Lynch said. “Added to his attempts to freeze their pay and double their health care, the governor’s campaign to silence their voices threatens to create a hostile work environment and drive morale to an all-time low.
“Maybe as a billionaire CEO, Bruce Rauner used bullying tactics to get his way,” Lynch added, “but public service workers are not property to be ‘controlled’, workplace democracy is not ‘external interference’, and threats of ‘invigorated discipline’ are the worst possible way to motivate a workforce.”
The document is here.
* Rauner administration’s response…
This is a misleading distraction from AFSCME’s refusal to work with the administration on implementing our last best and final offer. LEAD is part of the State’s employee relations efforts.
Like most employers in the country, the state recognizes that good legal advice on the front end helps reduce litigation risks and goes a long way to restoring an ethical working environment free of unlawful discrimination or employee misconduct.
Rather than misleading and protesting overtime after 40 hours, merit pay, bereavement leave and testing employees if they’re suspected of being drunk or using drugs on the job, it’s time to work together on implementing the state’s fair and reasonable contract that is similar to the same contracts ratified by 18 other unions.