* Council 31 executive director Roberta Lynch e-mailed her members today. The e-mail’s subject headline was: “Attorney General Is Wrong”…
Last night AFSCME’s attorney received official notification that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion yesterday in St. Clair County Circuit Court to dissolve the preliminary injunction that AFSCME secured nearly two years ago to ensure that state employees would continue to be paid despite the state’s budget standoff.
I want you to know that AFSCME is prepared to return to court in opposition to the Attorney General’s motion and to pursue every available legal means to halt her action. Other unions representing state employees were our partners in securing the original injunction and I’m confident they will stand with us now.
The Attorney General is justifying her action by citing the urgent need for a resolution of the state budget stalemate.
Of course, we all agree that such a resolution is long overdue. That’s why AFSCME has repeatedly called on Governor Rauner to end his insistence that enactment of a state budget must be tied to his personal political agenda which is aimed at weakening workers’ rights.
However, the need for a budget resolution can in no way justify the Attorney General’s harmful and irresponsible legal maneuver.
AG Madigan’s action is particularly objectionable coming as it does at a time when Governor Rauner has already been waging a relentless assault on state employees—seeking to impose his own contract terms that would drastically drive down employees’ incomes and weaken rights on the job.
Our union has said repeatedly that we do not want to see a shutdown of state government. We have done everything possible to avert a strike. But we are determined to resist the governor’s efforts to impose his terms—which would set us back for many years to come.
That’s why it is more critical than ever that union members vote “YES” to give your Bargaining Committee the authorization to call a strike if that becomes the only recourse to gain fair treatment and respect.
Today Governor Rauner will be claiming that he is a friend of state employees and wants to make sure you get paid. We know well what a bunch of baloney that is. After nearly two years of unremitting hostility toward state employees—doing everything possible to inflict damage to our working conditions and our economic security, there’s no way Bruce Rauner has decided to be our buddy now. Rather, his phony sympathy is nothing but an effort to protect his own position in the state budget battle.
You and your fellow state employees are on the job every day providing vital services that Illinois citizens depend on—often under difficult, even dangerous, conditions. It is deeply disturbing when it appears that our state’s political leaders see you as no more than pawns in their games—failing to respect or value the vital work that you do.
But we won’t be discouraged or beaten down. We have won so many battles standing together and fighting back—and we can win this one too!
…Adding… From SEIU President Keith Kelleher…
“On behalf of our home healthcare and child care workers who have collective bargaining agreements with the State of Illinois and provide vital care for 30,000 people with disabilities and 61,000 children, we obviously oppose any efforts to stop payments or efforts that delay payments to our workforce, who struggle to get by as it is. But we all know how we got here–because of a governor who ran on shutting down government.
“Bruce Rauner NEVER will know the real pain that is endured by those he causes to suffer. But he has welcomed it in a shameful fashion by abandoning his constitutional duty to present a balanced budget to the General Assembly. Instead he has held Illinois hostage to his political wish list. The Attorney General’s action is a symptom. This governor is its cause.
“We call on Rauner to present a budget that funds vital services for the most vulnerable in our state.”