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“The State will call on whatever resources it needs” to maintain services during a strike

Friday, Jan 13, 2017

* John Terranova at CMS’ Office of Labor Relations just sent an e-mail to state employees about AFSCME’s decision to hold a strike authorization vote later this month. From his e-mail

Although it is your right to engage in a lawful strike, it is my hope that a strike will be averted. That said, employees should at the very least have the necessary information to make an informed decision about whether to go on strike. We will prepare a more comprehensive document, but in the meantime, please see the information below as you prepare to make this consequential decision.

* From his dot points

What are the consequences of a strike?

The most obvious and immediate consequence of a strike would be that striking employees’ wages would stop and they would be responsible for the full cost of their health insurance - their portion and the State’s portion. For the average state employee, the cost of a one-month strike would be over $8,000 in lost wages, pension, and additional health insurance expense. Beyond that immediate effect, there could be many other consequences. If the strike is unlawful, employees can be terminated for striking. The previous tolling agreement between the State and AFSCME had a “no strike, no lockout” clause, making a strike under the tolling agreement illegal unless impasse was reached and AFSCME has denied that the parties are at an impasse but nevertheless now calls for a strike vote. The State will vigorously pursue all lawful means at its disposal for challenging an unlawful strike.

Even if a strike by AFSCME is determined to be legal, employees may be replaced. Unless an unfair labor practice caused the strike, striking employees may not automatically have the right to have their job back at the end of the strike. They would only have the right to vacancies IF they were qualified and IF one exists.

What will the State’s response to a strike be?

The State will call on whatever resources it needs, from private vendors, other states, local governments, and other state resources to maintain services. While the State would prefer to continue to utilize its regular workforce, the State’s duty to continue to provide services does not stop simply because AFSCME chooses to go on strike. In light of AFSCME’s repeated threats to go on strike, the State has had extensive conversations with outside resources who are willing to step up in the event of a strike. Additionally, the State’s procurement laws contain an exception that allows the State to immediately engage outside vendors in the event of an emergency such as a strike. ​ In sum, the State is prepared to continue delivering critical services to its citizens with or without employees who choose to go out on the picket line.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Skeptic - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    “The State will call on whatever […] it needs” And if the resources won’t cross picket lines? “In light of AFSCME’s repeated threats…” Welcome to today’s post-truth world.

  2. - bothanspy - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:27 pm:

    Wait, so now they are not calling it an impasse?

  3. - Anon1234 - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    Skeptic - you don’t remember afscme had set a Sept 1 strike date, according to the Rauner folks?

    I’m hoping afscme claims an unfair labor practice for sending out this email. The union told us we are guaranteed our position after a strike. If that is true, then this email is definitely an unfair labor practice. Who knows what the consequences would be. Things are going to get a lot more painful unless someone steps in - courts or legislatures.

  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    I wonder how long this has message has been sitting around just waiting to be sent?

  5. - ugh - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    This is the most circular statement I have ever seen. Are they saying they are not at impasse? Are they saying that this strike is not the result of a ULP, even though multiple ULP’s have been filed?

    God they’re good. Just throw out words even if they are not true, just keep on throwing out words.

  6. - Liberty - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    Is Rauner really prepared for a walk out? I doubt it…

  7. - Simple Simon - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:30 pm:

    Wow, seriously, pick a lane on the impasse stuff!

  8. - Skeptic - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    “While the State would prefer to continue to utilize its regular workforce,…” Here’s a no-cost idea to avoid the whole mess: Sit down at the bargaining table. Problem solved.

  9. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    The last paragraph is crap. No matter who you side with here, the notion that the State can just contact “outside vendors” that will come in and seamlessly keep the State running is ridiculous.

  10. - W.S. Wolcott - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    I can never remember a CMS Director being as busy with his email machine in all of my days. JT sure has a way with the email.

  11. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    With no budget, show me the authority to contract and expend funds.

  12. - Rabid - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    FOIA his Email?

  13. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    ===The State will call on whatever resources it needs, from private vendors, other states, local governments, and other state resources to maintain services.===

    If only they would do that under normal operating conditions. No snark intended.

  14. - Big Muddy - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    PATCO version 2.0

    Go get ‘em Governor.

  15. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    The unemployment rate is quite low in Illinois right now; replacement workers won’t be as easily available as they would have been four years ago (5.6% now; 9% four years ago).

  16. - Union proud - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:40 pm:

    Let’s see if I can follow the logic of the JT email. Governor says we are at impasse. His labor board says we are at impasse. But if the union doesn’t agree we are at impasse then we are somehow still bound by the no strike clause in the tolling agreement. If we are bound by the no strike clause then the strike is unlawful. If we unlawfully strike then the governor can replace all strikers with all the vendors he now claims are waiting in the wings. (No word how he’ll pay them all though)

    Wow… that’s a fun one. Alright here’s hoping we get that stay until the appeals work their course…

  17. - Ole' Nelson - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:41 pm:

    “With no budget, show me the authority to contract and expend funds.”


  18. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    The post says if the strike is unlawful workers can be fired.

    I assume workers would not strike if it was not lawful because they would guarantee being fired. Who determines the legality of the strike? Labor board or courts?

    I assume prison guards and the other public safety state workers cannot be allowed to strike correct?

  19. - Honeybear - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    OMG it’s totally not true that strikers would not get their jobs back. Totally false.

    Trust Honeybear or Rauner

  20. - OldTimer - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    “immediately engage outside vendors” is a joke. The state cant pay the vendors and contractors they currently have and have no means of covering expenditures without allocated funds. Very typical email, only sent out to enrage, confuse and concern state workers.

  21. - Blue Bayou - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:46 pm:

    Rauner should fight fire with fire and go on strike too.

  22. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:48 pm:

    Of course the strike would be ULP. Why would AFSCME lead members to their self-imposed terminations?

  23. - family man - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    Dear John,

    Do you ever tell the truth? By the way, I
    have sent you a couple questions on your “so called” question and answer forum on the website and you didn’t respond. I’m starting to believe you created your own questions and answered them yourself. What a joke.

  24. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    When BVR implements his last/best won’t the tolling agreement expire? The logic is amazingly random.

  25. - Union proud - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    The tolling agreement is designed to end when the labor board rules there is an impasse. Only thing keeping the governor from imposing is an emergency stay from the 1st circuit until court jurisdiction can be worked out.

    But now the governor says we are sort of under the tolling agreement? Then why did he try to impose terms a couple months ago? My head is spinning…

  26. - Dr X - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    Are these conversations FOIA eligble? And these resources - will they get paid up front?

    “The State has had extensive conversations with outside resources who are willing to step up in the event of a strike

  27. - northsider (the original) - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 3:59 pm:

    The “impasse/no impasse” part sounds like KellyAnne Conway’s ramblings.

  28. - Johnnie Butter - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:04 pm:

    How will the vendors be paid. Who wants a job where the employer has unpaid bills mounting every day. There is no budget to pay the new guys!

  29. - Anon - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:09 pm:

    Honeybear, would we get them back right away or have to go to court and spend a long time in litigation?

    OMG it’s totally not true that strikers would not get their jobs back. Totally false.

    Trust Honeybear or Rauner

  30. - Robert the 1st - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:14 pm:

    No back pay for strikers, no pay at all. Maybe I’m not understanding your question?

  31. - Keyser Soze - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:18 pm:

    In the event of an AFSCME strike, will the other unions cross the picket line? IDOT Teamsters are an example.

  32. - John - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:22 pm:

    Be prepared for a strike.

    The union went around and did a survey not that long ago and they determined that approximately 90% of state workers in Chicago wanted a strike.

    They said that 40% in Springfield area wanted a strike. With those numbers over half of the union members would be voting to strike which because the strike vote is simply whoever wins the Majority then the state will strike.

    Also, some of the other unions will stand strong with AFSCME so this will be a lot bigger than just AFSCME when all is said and done.

  33. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:25 pm:

    Need a Newspeak dictionary to translate

  34. - tired of politics - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:29 pm:

    John, AFSCME will not strike with a 51% participation rate. I’m guessing AFSCME is
    hoping for a 90% participation rate.

  35. - geez - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:32 pm:

    Something to think about. Businesses doing business with IL aren’t being paid thus they may look forward to a strike as a way to get the money back owed them.

  36. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:33 pm:

    Hello outside vendor.
    We need you to come do work for the state.
    Pay you?
    Well …

  37. - Honeybear - Friday, Jan 13, 17 @ 4:36 pm:

    Anon, at the negotiated settlement to the end of a strike the return of workers is one of the items that is addressed. AFSCME won’t end the strike unless everyone gets to return. Trust Honeybear on that.

    That being said if you are an uncertified trainee I would suggest that you vote to strike but cross the picket line. Trainees like RTS trainee SSCT etc are not as covered to my understanding. To my understanding if you strike they could fire you and we may not be able to get you back.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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