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AFSCME cites documents as proof of “bullying,” Rauner admin says it’s just “good legal advice”

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

59 Comments
  1. - Union proud - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:21 pm:

    “implementing the state’s fair and reasonable contract that is similar to the same contracts ratified by 18 other unions.”

    Depends on your definition of “similar” I guess. Because the trade council agreements and teamster agreements aren’t close. Only one that was close was the agreement sent to the nurses to vote on. Guess how they voted…


  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    ===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.===

    At least they didn’t DENY it. So there’s that.

    Wonder if Quinn woulda done this?

    I’ll leave that there…


  3. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:25 pm:

    “This is a misleading distraction from AFSCME’s refusal to work with the administration on implementing our last best and final offer.”

    The “last best and final offer” isn’t even supposed to be implemented until the LRB issues it’s written decision, so based on that alone, this can — and should — easily be construed as bullying by AFSCME.


  4. - Joe M - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:25 pm:

    “implementing the state’s fair and reasonable contract that is similar to the same contracts ratified by 18 other unions.”

    Except for doubling employees’ health insurance costs! I don’t believe that happened in the other contracts?


  5. - illinoised - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:28 pm:

    Scientology auditing has begun.


  6. - Not It - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:28 pm:

    Do state employees work for the State, or are do they work for the union? If they believe that they work for the union and they think only the union should direct their work, then they should take a closer look at their paycheck which has the State Seal on it.


  7. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:29 pm:

    “The whippings will continue until morale improves.”


  8. - Johnnie F. - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:30 pm:

    “implementing the state’s fair and reasonable contract that is similar to the same contracts ratified by 18 other unions.”

    …except for that unobstructed outsourcing clause.


  9. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:31 pm:

    I bet this is the same group that thought it was “good legal advice” to use a legal maneuver to take healthcare out of collective bargaining for the Fraternal Order of Police. Let that sink in. Removing control of healthcare from police officers. This has the CMS acting director all over it. I knew there was probably a reason he was moved over there.

    So you guys still maintain Rauner was bargaining in good faith?


  10. - Norseman - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    Any state employee who still believes Rauner cares about his/her interests should read and re-read this LEAD memo. Sad.


  11. - Not It - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:36 pm:

    Norseman- I don’t think the Governor campaigned on a promise to protect bureaucrats and state employees, so I doubt any state employee thinks Rauner is most concerned with them.


  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    Honeybear - because per usual AFSCME throws out a lengthier document than necessary and uses a ton of hyperbole. Rauner’s press shop comes back with a concise note that is much easier to understand.

    AFSCME seems to be outsmarting itself. I picture Mr. Lindall sitting at his laptop and giggling as he writes his press releases. Does he get paid by the word or something?! Yikes.


  13. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:39 pm:

    “Do state employees work for the State, or are do they work for the union? If they believe that they work for the union and they think only the union should direct their work, then they should take a closer look at their paycheck which has the State Seal on it.”

    Straw man argument. Next.


  14. - Huh? - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:40 pm:

    And people are wondering why I have a green ribbon on my lapel, to support a union under fire from 1.4%. I hope I have the correct color ribbon for AFSCME.


  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:46 pm:

    So AFSCME is against a centralized legal structure (within the Governor’s office) across State agencies (all under the Governor’s office) dealing with employees matters that is intended to insure consistent advice so that employees in different agencies aren’t treated differently? In other words, they’re fine with the jumbled mess between agencies that has historically resulted in different treatment of their union members based on which agency they work for? Interesting


  16. - NorthsideNoMore - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:57 pm:

    For those of us in the Patch at 2:50 today the southbound train just blew the horn on its way past the 3rd street corridor. AFSCME might want to get on it…half of what they do could be streamlined, automated and or privatized.


  17. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    Dang it! 2:38 was me. I really hate Chrome right now. It takes a lot to make me say that.


  18. - Federalist - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:14 pm:

    As to “last best and final offer.”

    Does anyone know of the specifics of what this means to employee, and dependent spouse and child health care premiums?


  19. - Anon1234 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:22 pm:

    Federalist, all health insurance premiums are slightly more than doubling. And for higher income earners (over 100k) they are going up more. This will affect more than just afscme. All employees who are part of the state employee health plan will see this increase.


  20. - Railrat - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:30 pm:

    my vote for best verse 2016 “toughen up buttercup” can have universal application.


  21. - RNUG - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:36 pm:

    == all health insurance premiums are slightly more than doubling. ==

    That’s for THIS year. It’s going to keep increasing; the only question is how fast it goes up. The long term goal is to have the employees paying 100% of their health insurance costs.


  22. - Fixer - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:37 pm:

    Federalist, it depends on your income and number of dependents. Here’s an example: two adults, three kids in a Managed Care Health Plan (MCHP) where one adult works for the state and makes $30,200 or less a year under the current contract pays $227 monthly. New contract? $460 monthly. So 1/5 of that employees gross salary for the month will go to health insurance. That family currently is eligible for Medicaid based off their income. That is not including dental, which goes from $19.50 monthly to $50 monthly.

    All of this is available from the CMS website.


  23. - anon - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:43 pm:

    Subcontractors will cost far more than state employees do to employ. When a subcontractor makes a mistake there is no accounting; however, they will continue to get paid for services rendered (just like in federal gov’t). It’ll cost the state more to pay another subcontractor (or state employee to follow-up, correct, and do the job that should have been done the first time. Had state employees done a job they would have buy-in. Subs don’t care. They just want to get paid.


  24. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:45 pm:

    Come on Team Sleep. You should know AFSCME’s Love the hyperbole! That’s my wheelhouse! Joe Hill be praised!


  25. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:48 pm:

    Honeybear - yes but all kidding aside I think the public gets tired of it.


  26. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:49 pm:

    But seriously why does Rauner need the Stasi unit?


  27. - Liberty - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 3:50 pm:

    Of course Rauner has a group like this…the union leadership is seems out of touch.


  28. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:01 pm:

    Hopefully this proves to be a useful exhibit in the appeal.


  29. - Signal and Noise - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:09 pm:

    “Do state employees work for the State, or are do they work for the union?”

    The State is the employer, the workers are represented by a labor union. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. Read a freshman level history book.


  30. - Ex Spsa - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:13 pm:

    This is almost pointless. What is the latest figure of upcoming retirees? This is calculated and foolhardy.


  31. - JustRight - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:29 pm:

    This “new” and secret division at CMS is just Labor Relations. It’s existed in most agencies for many decades. It’s a division that helps navigate the endless contractual rules and labor laws on management’s behalf. Way to spin something that isn’t even a secret AFSCME.


  32. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:36 pm:

    All of you that are judging AFSCME vs Rauner should wait until the people of Illinols that depend and need the services of the state speak. Hopefully that’ll be before a strike. AFSCME understands the realities. Rauner hire people to tell him what he want to hear. Some things are common sense.


  33. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:40 pm:

    AFSCME needs to work on their PR. If they think that this is somehow a story, their leadership is way more out of sync with people in this state than I thought.


  34. - Yiddishcowboy - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:42 pm:

    @JustRight. You’re not being honest here. LEAD is a completely new division within CMS with newly-hired attorneys dedicated to Union matters. There’s even a Chief Labor and Employment Law Counsel to the Gov. I’m not complaining about this division; I even see the need for it, partially, but AFSCME is not spinning anything as “new”; it IS new.


  35. - sulla - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:42 pm:

    Does AFSCME realize that when they say things like:

    “a euphemism for so-called “merit pay” schemes that open the door to favoritism and political influence”

    It sounds like AFSCME is crapping all over anyone who has ever gotten a merit raise in their private sector jobs. Which is pretty much everyone in the private sector.

    This is just one example of how AFSCME sounds like a bunch of hostile weirdos every time they attempt to communicate with the outside world.


  36. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:44 pm:

    No just right labor relations units are not formed to gain control and re invigorate discipline, Stasi style units are. Not even kidding.


  37. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 4:51 pm:

    Oh wait my bad. You wouldn’t get what Stasi is. It might be easier to go with the Russian equivalent since republicans like them so much these days. Stasi was the East German equivalent of the NKVD. Get it now?


  38. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:01 pm:

    What’s LEAD costing us taxpayers?


  39. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:01 pm:

    “Sulla” everyone knows how merit raises are awarded.


  40. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:02 pm:

    ==@JustRight. You’re not being honest here==

    Just Right is actually exactly right. It’s a centralized labor relations structure to consistently apply agency rules. Some agencies had virtually none, and the structure was wildly inconsistent from agency to agency. Many of these “new attorneys” did labor work at an agency. The hyperbole and spin by some of you is off the charts bizarre. Make sure your foil hats are changed regularly.


  41. - PrivateSectorKnowsBest - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:07 pm:

    @sulla Oh they know how merit raises have been given over the years in state government. That is why AFSCME is there in the first place. Merit raises first go to the directors, then facility managers and if any is left over it goes to their political buddies and then the kissers. Frontline employees who do the work and not the managers never saw a dime. Is that how it works in the private sector?


  42. - To You - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:11 pm:

    @Ex spsa you do realize that AFSCME bargains the retiree insurance don’t you? Sure your premium will not change if you retired under the proper parameters, but your insurance will!!


  43. - Then to U - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:13 pm:

    @anonymous and just right so did they get rid of the CMS Labor Relations team? If not then I would say this is new.


  44. - molly maguire - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:21 pm:

    Afscme, are you going to strike or not? If not, then make the best of the final offer and live to fight another day. All the rest is noise


  45. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:24 pm:

    Also, it’s a bit much to call this release the result of a “whistleblower.” Whistleblower insinuates that something illegal or suspect is going on.


  46. - David - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:31 pm:

    Is it legal for him to just establish this sort of thing without legislative approval


  47. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:32 pm:

    @molly maguire–the members need to vote. And you are right. I hear a lot of noise!


  48. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:40 pm:

    ==Is it legal for him to just establish this sort of thing without legislative approval==

    Exactly what legislation do you think is necessary for the Governor to structure his management how he sees fit. But before you do that, please point to the current statute that requires the structure to be how it currently is.


  49. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:42 pm:

    I need a degree in brown nosing,.. then I can get a merit increase.


  50. - EX SPSA - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:48 pm:

    To You - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:11 pm:

    @Ex spsa you do realize that AFSCME bargains the retiree insurance don’t you? Sure your premium will not change if you retired under the proper parameters, but your insurance will!!

    Yes I understand but my point was that there are fewer and fewer long-term employees and every time something like this, or those ridiculous
    email come out, more and more people leave. The staffing level is terrible, so what is the end plan to destroy the workforce as a whole. Well its going to happen along with the pension system because Tier 2 people are smart enough to know a bad deal and pull their funds.

    And as a merit employee who should have received the bonus and didn’t ( 5 exceptional) simply because I don’t say yes unless its right, the merit bonus is B…..


  51. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:51 pm:

    David, yes Rauner can set this worker control unit up. It’s his agency. But it’s definitely not a labor relations department which CMS and agencies already have. No this “control” and “discipline” unit is there to legally harass public servants and stifle union activity. I’ve been wondering where some of this was coming from.


  52. - DHSJim - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 6:00 pm:

    @ Molly Mcguire 5:21 - EXACTLY!!! This is the question everyone is askung in my office. Do or do not do. There is no try.


  53. - Yiddishcowboy - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 6:27 pm:

    @Anonymous 5:02. You keep spinning it, bud..m whatever works for you I suppose. And people complain about the union’s spinning. I’m not going to try with some on this board…their positions are not going to change. I’ve been with the State going on 30 years, and I’ve never seen this type of division. It’s more than labor relations and people know it. Some people just refuse to be honest.


  54. - Yiddishcowboy - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 6:31 pm:

    By the way, the person who provided these materials to AFSCME is hardly a “whistleblower.” Puh-leeze….there’s nothing illegal or unethical with what the administration is doing with LEAD.


  55. - Non Union - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 6:38 pm:

    AFSCME - grow a pair and strike to see how things turn out or shut up and get ready to pay the piper. IDOC and IDHS will vote to strike. The odd thing is, they can vote for the strike but aren’t allowed to strike. Here’s another thought, organize an all out call in sick day. Deplete the States resources (employees) for one or two days in a row and see if that brings the Gov back to negotiation table.


  56. - Strike Please - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 7:08 pm:

    OMG, just strike please. The union feels like they run the state. They work for the state. Had a guy in the office say he got called and was asked if he’d go on strike, he question what are the issues and what had AFSCME proposed and got hung up on! From what I’ve heard most will not strike. Show your cards AFSCME, call the bluff already.


  57. - cosmoBB - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 7:16 pm:

    union members (most, i speculate) that voted for rauner, regret it
    union members that DO NOT strike (IMHO) they will eventually regret it


  58. - Federalist - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 7:26 pm:

    Ex spsa you do realize that AFSCME bargains the retiree insurance don’t you?

    That could well be the next big lawsuit by retirees. It constitutes a diminishment and no retiree gave AFSCME permission to be their bargaining agent. Just because Edgar approved of that over 20 years ago does not give it legal sanction.


  59. - To You - Thursday, Dec 1, 16 @ 8:36 am:

    @ Non Union your facts are not quite correct. Some IDOC employees can strike and most IDHS can strike and only those who can strike will vote on the authorization to strike if memory serves me right.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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