Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x3 - Rauner response - 81 percent vote to authorize strike *** AFSCME strike vote authorization result announcement
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*** UPDATED x3 - Rauner response - 81 percent vote to authorize strike *** AFSCME strike vote authorization result announcement

Thursday, Feb 23, 2017

* The event starts at 10:30. Click here to watch our live coverage post. You can click here for what’s being billed as a live video feed that I wasn’t able to embed here. WTAX is also promising live coverage, so click here for that.

*** UPDATE 1 ***  AFSCME says 81 percent voted to authorize a strike. Its press release is here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch won’t tell reporters how many state workers actually cast ballots. However, a spokesman told me that right around 80 percent of eligible voters turned out.

*** UPDATE 3 *** From the governor’s office…

The Rauner Administration released the following statement in response to AFSCME’s strike authorization vote. The following is attributable to General Counsel Dennis Murashko:

“The vote to authorize a strike is an attack on our state’s hardworking taxpayers and all those who rely on critical services provided everyday. It is a direct result of AFSCME leadership’s ongoing misinformation campaign about our proposal.

AFSCME leaders would rather strike than work 40 hours a week before earning overtime. They want to earn overtime after working just 37.5 hours per week.

AFSCME leaders would rather strike than allow volunteers like Boy Scout troops to lend a helping hand inside government. They want to ban the use of volunteers.

AFSCME leaders would rather strike than allow state employees to be paid based on merit. They want to stick to paying people based on seniority, regardless of whether they’re doing a good job.

And while hard working families across the state face skyrocketing health insurance premiums, AFSCME leaders want to strike to force higher taxes to subsidize their health care plans that are far more generous than taxpayers have.

Put simply, AFSCME leaders will do or say anything to avoid implementing a contract that is fair to both taxpayers and state employees alike.

If AFSCME chooses to strike, we will use every resource to ensure services continue to be available to the people of Illinois. We continue to encourage AFSCME to work with us in implementing a contract that is similar to those ratified by 20 other unions.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

235 Comments
  1. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    The big question is, if there is an actual strike, how much solidarity will there be. That would definitely impact the effectiveness of the strike.


  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    Rauner doesn’t care. He wants a strike. It’s huscwdy or highway.


  3. - Belle - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    A lot of people are saying they just can’t afford to…but can we afford not to??


  4. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Stick together AFSCME’s. Hold the line and don’t get separated on your own.


  5. - Texas Red - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:26 am:

    AFSCME takes a deep breath and pushed all their chips into the pot…


  6. - scott aster - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    It will be unsuccesssful and cost many jobs.


  7. - Red rider - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:34 am:

    If you need money for a strike fund, all the unions will give. Go get the fake Gov packing.


  8. - Bobby Catalpa - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:34 am:

    81% voted for. Just got the email.


  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    Curious how many actually voted.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    If it’s 81%…

    My “number” was 83.5…

    If you had the “under”, head to the “Pay” windows.


  11. - WhoKnew - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:37 am:

    Wonder how many of the 28,000 who could vote, voted.
    81% with only 50% participation is no mandate at all.
    Hoping for at least 80% participation.


  12. - No Longer A Lurker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    How many of the 81% will cross the picket line if there is indeed a strike?


  13. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    Not as high a percentage as I would’ve liked but it’ll do.


  14. - Skeptical - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    Is there a way to contribute to a strike fund? There may be a lot of supporters who would love to show how much they value these workers.


  15. - Consideration - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    Rauner said if we put up his contract to a vote it would be overwhelmingly approved by AFSCME.

    Rauner - You are wrong again!


  16. - Nick Name - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:46 am:

    I’d like to know the vote turnout.


  17. - Downstate - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    Who Knew,
    Spot on! What % actually voted? We had a union manufacturer in our town several years ago. On a vote to accept or reject the package offered by the company, less than 35% of the employees event bothered to cast a vote - on their own future!


  18. - Curl of the Burl - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    Nice of Ms. Lynch to “not go into specific numbers”. Nice way to dodge that question.


  19. - Curl of the Burl - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    Anon - that was my thought. George Carlin’s bit about euphemisms rings more and more true as time goes by.


  20. - Tony - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    She just said 81% with 80% participation.


  21. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    == A lot of people are saying they just can’t afford to…but can we afford not to?? ==

    Strike or not strike, either way the employees lose money.

    Don’t strike and live under the imposed contract with unlimited outsourcing, you may lose your job.

    Choice seems obvious. Do nothing and you will lose. Do something and you might not lose as much.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    Dear AFSCME,

    I can’t help but think back to your relationship with Quinn right about now.

    However,

    I do, honestly, wish you guys all the luck in the world. Strikes are never a desire or a want in Labor. I do hope smart and cool heads prevail if a walkout occurs as not to help Rauner with optics and sound bites detrimental to your (AFSCME) cause.

    Otherwise, you’ll be sinking your own ship in the end.


  23. - PublicServant - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    RNUG 10:52 is right.


  24. - Liberty - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    Not voting is still a vote.


  25. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    == that right around 80 percent of eligible voters turned out. ==

    I had heard anecdotally that the turnout was pretty high.


  26. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    AFSCME is still under the delusion that overall public opinion is in their favor when it comes to health care costs being put on par with what private sector employees pay.


  27. - realkewlio - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    Based upon the numbers, 65% of AFSCME members want a strike. Not sure that’s a strong enough percentage to shut down the state….


  28. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    ==health care costs being put on par with what private sector employees pay==

    None of my private sector friends pay anywhere close to what state employees will now be paying. Don’t make such a blanket statement because you’re simply wrong.


  29. - Tony B. - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    81 voted to authorize a strike. Out of that 81 percent 20-30 would cross the line I estimate. Bringing us to a potentially 50-50 civil war. Rauner wins.


  30. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    =anywhere close to what state employees will now be paying=

    You could always choose a cheaper plan. Team Rauner has claimed 0% increase depending on employees’s choice. AFSCME has never denied it. What ever makes sense for your family. Most private sector employees make that choice every year. Cost compared to covered.


  31. - fed up - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    So about 65% of those eligible to strike voted to authorized a strike? (81% of an 80 percent vote??)


  32. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    Coverage*


  33. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    ==You could always choose a cheaper plan==

    You’re either paying on the front end or the back end. Either way the result is the same. To suggest it’s 0% is false.


  34. - Former State Employee - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    I agree with Oswego Willy. The way the union treated Pat Quinn was abysmal. Even if they didn’t like him, it was in their best interest to work with him. However, they couldn’t wait to get rid of him. Congratulations.


  35. - Belle - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    RNUG- I totally agree!


  36. - Piece of Work - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    Demo, please give us an idea what you are currently paying monthly for health insurance, how many people are covered, and what you think you may have to pay.


  37. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    If you cross the picket line will you have to pay the union back the money you receive?


  38. - Kevin Highland - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    Seen in the twitter side crawl here. I think this is an understatement.

    Director Lynch: “AFSCME employee moral is very low” … due to the threat of strike and the Governor’s position.


  39. - A Jack - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:09 am:

    Pat Quinn wasn’t much better than Rauner. Quinn did raise employee health insurance by at least 100%. And don’t forget the pay raises he didn’t honor. He did all of that outside of contract negotiations.


  40. - pool boy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:09 am:

    So 9000 couldn’t vote, 5800 didn’t vote and 4400 voted no. Spin it however you want.


  41. - Doc Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    If there’s a strike, the percentage of AFSCME workers who walk isn’t the essential thing–the essential thing will be how much disruption would be caused by having even half of their members on strike. That would mean that state offices that are already understaffed have half their staff on the job inside (plus a few supervisors trying to remember how to do front line work, if they ever knew how) while the other half pickets outside. Rauner would certainly try to bluff it out by saying everything is business as usual, but that would be a hard sell.

    And if AFSCME strikes, they will have at least one large set of allies–all the higher education employees in the state whose health coverage is set by the AFSCME contract. We can’t strike with AFSCME, but our fate is tied to that of AFSCME, and we’ll do all we can to support them.


  42. - Memo From Turner - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    Just watched the whole announcement and speech by Director Lynch. Her attempt to sound militant rang hollow. There is about to be a tax hike of some sorts, and I hope AFSCME leadership is smart enough to realize that public sympathy for state workers will take a hit if they come across as greedy. Also, the 40 hour work week issue is going to kill them if they strike. Hope cooler heads prevail.


  43. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    –None of my private sector friends pay anywhere close to what state employees will now be paying. Don’t make such a blanket statement because you’re simply wrong.–

    Demoralized, you just made a blanket statement and then told someone not to make blanket statements. Hypocrisy aside, maybe you could provide some facts that back up your statement?


  44. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    One anonymous to another, stop it. You sound like JT.


  45. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    ===Pat Quinn wasn’t much better than Rauner. Quinn did raise employee health insurance by at least 100%. And don’t forget the pay raises he didn’t honor. He did all of that outside of contract negotiations.===

    Keep telling yourself that.

    It won’t be Quinn, in the end, learning a lesson. And, if AFSCME doesn’t want to learn a lesson from “Quinn”, then they will get all they “want” with Rauner… Ugh.


  46. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    As I have said many times before, pain and suffering is assured no matter what. The question is how do you want to go down, swinging or defeated. And what does your choice mean for the rebuild of our state and Union.

    If you chose to take it you green light Rauners abuse of the state. Just think of what he could do with AFSCME out of the way.
    I am for Direct Action

    Join with me sisters and brothers.

    Fight to stop Rauner and the wealthy


  47. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    Standing firm on the “overtime after 37.5 hours!” is penny-wise, pound-foolish. AFSCME: you’ll badly lose the PR battle if you don’t give in on that one.


  48. - Desert Dweller - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    Are the non-votes included in the 81% to strike figure? If so, the 65% would be inaccurate. If not, not sure 65% is a mandate. 81% of eligible members is more so.


  49. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    AFSCME to open go fund me strike fundraising page.


  50. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    I really wish they had been upfront in their press release that it was 81% of those that voted rather than 81% of the members, which implies higher turnout.

    81% of members is a different number than 81% of the folks that voted and while I understand what they’re doing, 81% of 80ish percent of the members is a different margin.

    In their defense though, the number of members is constantly changing and folks were allowed to become new members to vote.


  51. - A non - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    Maybe we’ll get a ruling from the fourth district appellate court on the stay motion now. Honeybear, you believe they’ll side with Rauner, right?


  52. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    === If so, the 65% would be inaccurate===

    If you count that way, Trump got about 25 percent of the vote.


  53. - Littleleroy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:18 am:

    Jeepers! I’ve grown really tired of hearing about how AFSCME treated Pat Quinn. Doesn’t anyone remember how he treated AFSCME in the previous contract negotiations? Well, I do, and his behavior was outrageous. Why should labor always accept getting shafted and be forced to take the long view instead of the leftist politicians who are supposed to be on their side?


  54. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    I pay 282 per month for premium insurance for 4 ppl. Which is cheap considering my last job was 1100 per month for the same coverage. If I have to pay 400-500, so be it.


  55. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    Guys, it doesn’t matter what the numbers are

    AFSCME has chosen to stand up and say NO!


  56. - Rogue Roni - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    Robert the 1st. Yeah that would be great. Too bad Rauner walked away from the table.


  57. - Norseman - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    Hopefully AFSCME will win in court and a strike won’t be necessary. If not, members need to stay strong or realize their union is dead.


  58. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    There is always a comparison with what State workers pay vs. what private industry pays for insurance. I worked at 2 fortune 500 companies before being laid off and paid a lot less with better benefits than what I pay at the State. If your going to make that comparison please compare apples to apples. Compare it to a company that has 30,000+ employees and not to Joe’s Print shop down the street with 10.


  59. - Chairman McBroom - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    Since my last comment was deleted, I’ll try and rephrase…

    Of the “front-line” state workers who spoke at the AFSCME press conference, their average pay increase between 2015 and 2016 was 20%. In all fairness to state workers, that does not include employee contributions to health insurance and pension benefits.

    How do you think the average taxpayer feels about double-digit year over year pay increases for state workers, combined with better-than-private-sector non-salary benefits, especially at a time when most private sector workers have not seen wage increases or health insurance premium relief in quite some time. My guess is not good.

    This issue is about fairness - fairness for taxpayers.


  60. - PJ - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    The Boy Scout line is priceless. “AFSCME hates boys scouts” rather than “AFSCME doesn’t want unpaid volunteers being shoehorned into jobs occupied by salaried employees”.


  61. - sulla - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    AFSCME seems to be betting that the very same Illinois citizenry who watched the destruction of social services in our state with ambivalence are suddenly going to ride to the rescue of state workers.

    Good luck with that.


  62. - Downstater - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    AFSCME, I sympathize with you but I fear this is a PR battle you will not win. The general public will not care that Rauner refused to negotiate. A strike will play right into Rauner’s hands and this is going to get even uglier.


  63. - Resist - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    And an email from JT….in…3…2…1…


  64. - Name Withheld - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    It could be hard for the Governor to call in replacement workers if the AG’s lawsuit is won in the ISC. He wouldn’t be able to pay anyone to do the work.


  65. - AC - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    ==We continue to encourage AFSCME to work with us in implementing a contract that is similar to those ratified by 20 other unions==

    I don’t think the offers are that similar. I doubt there’d be an impasse if similar health insurance and a no layoff guarantee similar to other unions was included in the offer to AFSCME.


  66. - Thursday - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    Are state workers NOT taxpayers???!!!


  67. - PJ - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    Downstater:

    My impression right now is that the general Illinois public doesn’t care about this one way or the other. That might change if they actually strike, but I don’t think this is really that widely publicized at the moment.

    All these pressers both sides hold are sort of shouting into the void as far as the average Illinois citizen is concerned. I’d be surprised if more than 5% of people in this state even know this dispute is happening.


  68. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    PoW:

    Not that it’s anyone’s business but since I brought it up I’ll be forthcoming.

    I believe it will be around $12,000 per year, or $1,000 per month. It will be about a 6% to 7% cut in take home pay . . . plus whatever additional state income tax we’ll all pay.

    But, you’re all right as far as PR goes.


  69. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    To Rauner’s Response…

    Rauner is already framing it “Taxpayers vs. Af-Scammy”

    Unless AFSCME truly understands how to “strike”… without rallies, angry chanting, marching and ugly signs…

    … AFSCME could be facing blowback that Rauner will use to destroy them….

    Just. As he. Planned.


  70. - OpenYourEyes - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    Let’s be clear… this is not about the 40 hour overtime pay! That is just a sound bite for the public.

    State Employee work hours have been at 37.5 hours since sometime around 1965. If you want overtime to start at 40 hours and want things to be “inline” with the private sector, then change our hours to reflect a 40 hour work week.

    Instead… you choose to stick it to the employee by making them work overtime at the standard rate.


  71. - Whatever - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:30 am:

    ==AFSCME leaders would rather strike than allow state employees to be paid based on merit. ==

    Considering that the administration still is not basing merit comp employees’ pay on merit, I can certainly understand this.


  72. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    A non. At this point who knows what is going to happen. As military vets know. Once you get to this point it all changes. Plans go out the window in the fog of conflict.
    AFSCME just announced Battle Stations on the 1MC

    It’s going to be the Labor War of the 21rst century


  73. - Mean Gene - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    As a state worker,

    I hope leadership calls for a strike. I’ll be the first to walk off the job. Gov. Rauner needs to be reminded, as do the citizens of this state, that state workers are their neighbors, their veterans, their mothers, and their friends.

    I haven’t been in a real fight since I served this country as United States Marine. I might need to stretch a bit but I’ll be proud to stand with union workers across this state to fight for what’s right!


  74. - OpenYourEyes - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:32 am:

    Let’s be clear… AFSCME doesn’t care about Volunteers helping our citizens. What we do care about is a Governor that wants to “replace” workers with volunteers and then attempts to play on the public feelings by saying it will be the Boy Scouts. Seriously?


  75. - Nick Name - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    “If AFSCME chooses to strike, we will use every resource to ensure services continue to be available to the people of Illinois.”

    That will be kind of hard to do without, you know, a BUDGET. Them’s the breaks, Gov. Gaslight.


  76. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    If Rauner wins he can privatize ANYTHING without having to prove that it’s cheaper. FACT

    How do you do called conservatives feel about that?


  77. - Earnest - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    Members took a brave vote to give leadership authorization to call a strike, especially given the forces against them. It’s a frightening prospect.

    Brave move by leadership as well–if they called the vote and lost, it would have been a crushing defeat. Now they have another tool in their box.

    I hope for the sake of all sides there can be a negotiated solution before that tool has to be used.


  78. - Flynn's mom - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    Who thinks a strike is imminent?


  79. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    AFSCME’s vote is “an attack on our state’s hardworking taxpayers . . .”

    An attack?

    This is worse than Trump calling out the media as being the enemy of American citizens.

    Jeeze “general counsel”, leave the hyperbolic shameless politicking to CK and her crew.


  80. - OpenYourEyes - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Let’s be 100% percent clear… This vote was not about Insurance! 100% increase in our insurance premiums is not fair; however, this vote is about the Governor wanting to privatize jobs so that his “business friends” can make higher profits by robbing the state coffers.


  81. - So tired of political hacks - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Lol, at least they finally admit a contract similar to those reached with 20 other unions. There not in fact some unions were guaranteed no lay off’s while afscme was reduced to you can bid your own job and we still can pay private height sums if we want to.


  82. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    ===The general public will not care that Rauner refused to negotiate.===

    As an AFSCME member I just don’t care anymore what the general public thinks. They don’t walk in my shoes. Most of us would gladly agree to a temporary pay freeze and modest increases to our health ins. We also pay taxes; we don’t live in a bubble. The items listed by the Administration are not AFSCME’s main concerns. It’s the unfettered privatization of jobs that Rauner would be allowed under his terms. The Administration conveniently fails to mention that every time.


  83. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    Fact. Public university employees health insurance is pegged to ours. If we lose 360,000 people lose.

    AFSCME fights for you!


  84. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    By using terms such as “hardworking taxpayers” and “hardworking families” the connotation is that state employees fit into neither one of those categories. I wish they would stop saying such things.

    I think that’s one of my bigger issues with the Governor. He claims to “support” state workers while his office releases statements such as these.


  85. - CornCob - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    I work for the largest private employer in Springfield, and pay nealy $500/mo for employee and family health insurance. I think Demoralized’s friends are telling fibs.


  86. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:41 am:

    HB, Rauner’s privatization methods are cheaper.

    As we’ve seen, he just reneges on the contracts and doesn’t pay them.

    That’s what passes for a “fiscal conservative” in some circles.


  87. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:41 am:

    == and pay nealy $500/mo for employee and family health insurance==

    Check my post. I’ll be paying $1,000. I believe you just proved my point. Some pay more. Some pay less. Just don’t tell me everyone in the private sector has it worse off.


  88. - CornCob - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    ** Are state workers NOT taxpayers???!!! **

    Federal, yes, state, no. You are net tax consumers at the state level.


  89. - Crosstab - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    I work for a state university. If these health insurance premiums go into effect, I will take a 10% pay cut. I will make less in 2017 than I did in 2012.

    This hurts more than AFSCME. There will be a mass exodus of high quality teachers and staff from higher ed, even more than they already have in the past five years.

    Hold the line AFSCME, we are depending on you.


  90. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    ==Federal, yes, state, no. You are net tax consumers at the state level.==

    That argument is beyond laughable.


  91. - Bruce - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    Above all else I voted against privatization.


  92. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    Corn cob -

    I’m currently over 325 a month for family health and dental - and others are paying more because it is income based. Now double that. I’ll take your nearly $500, because that’s a lot less than double.


  93. - Nick Name - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    “Federal, yes, state, no. You are net tax consumers at the state level.”

    Huh? Show us a state employee who does not pay federal and state taxes. And property taxes. And sales taxes.


  94. - HangingOn - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    ==You are net tax consumers at the state level==

    So you’re claiming you don’t use any state resources? You don’t use water, breathe air, rely on police, need restaurants inspected for health reasons? Wow, nice bubble you live in.


  95. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    Corncob, totally not true. I pay a TON to the state. Bite me about net consumer! You add nothing to the success of the state. I literally help the poor disabled and elderly to survive and live. I rest well at night knowing I helped my state and community. What did you do cupcake?


  96. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    ===Who thinks a strike is imminent?===

    I think the only thing that can prevent one is arbitration. But that would require R legislators other than McCann voting green and I just don’t see that happening.


  97. - Thoughts Matter - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    Corn cob-

    I do pay state taxes just like you. My paycheck is earned from my doing actual work- just like yours. Presumably you work at one of the hospitals. Does that make you a net healthcare consumer rather than a provider? Tell us where you work, so we can quit paying your salary since you surely don’t want our money.


  98. - RIJ - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    AFSCME members, I pledge to support your strike fund. Good luck.


  99. - Worker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    Lynch was right. Rauner is a billionaire who is anti-worker, which he demonstrated in his private businesses and is demonstrating now. She also was right in that Rauner is trying to have it both ways per the agreement by saying he can impose his will, but the union cannot strike. Rauner probably expected threats and bullying to work, but did not count on solidarity. Why are some people here so quick to tear workers down and take away what they have when instead we should be building all workers up? In addition, please, do not fall victim to Rauner’s rhetoric. In the end, we all will lose. I am not a member of AFSCME, but I support AFSCME and its members.


  100. - notbuyingit - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    =How do you think the average taxpayer feels about double-digit year over year pay increases for state workers?=

    As a native Springfieldian, I realize and hope that the taxpayers of IL are smart enough to know that the entry level salary and future raises of the politically connected are far beyond the typical career path of a union employee.
    Privatizing will NOT result in less taxes or more money in taxpayer pockets. The true result is lower paying jobs and more money in the pockets of politicians’ buddy business owners.

    I REALLY don’t understand the grand plan. Why spend so much money on education and map grants to send EVERY student in IL to college when there won’t be decent jobs waiting for them?
    I guess if your family has business or political connections, that’s great. Really, what about the rest of us?


  101. - Rogue Roni - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    Did the governor not get the message that AFSCME members voted? It’s the rank and file, not union leadership, that has authorized a strike.


  102. - HangingOn - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:01 pm:

    ==Did the governor not get the message that AFSCME members voted?==

    Honestly, I was surprised me didn’t manage to slip in some Madigan blame on this too.


  103. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    Corncob. I apologize. If you are a hospital worker you go help people. I shouldn’t have said that.


  104. - Littleleroy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    I believe a little context is necessary here. It’s the stated goal of rightist politicians across the country to take down public sector labor unions. I watched Newt Gingrich go on television after Trump won and announce it as one of their first tasks.

    Accordingly, Labor has to take a stand. Yes, I get that 40 years of largely unanswered arguments from the right against labor unions means AFSCME will likely lose the public opinion war, but there is nothing for it. A battle there will have to be.

    I suggest that any prediction of how many will cross the lines is pretty useless. Most of AFSCME’s members have never been in a strike while belonging to a different union. Most will have to undergo a steep learning curve. But keep in mind that all unions view Illinois as the absolute bulkhead and firewall of the union movement. There will be busloads of members from other states descending on Springfield and Chicago. There will be national media attention. Illinois is not Wisconsin. So while I won’t predict how long a strike might endure, I will predict that it will be a battle royal with many simultaneous forces set in motion.


  105. - Lomez - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    Can someone in the know break down this $10,000 that keeps being tossed around by AFSCME?

    From the presser it sounded as though it was a 4-year figure, so $2,500 per year right off bat. But then RL also seemed to mention the pay freeze as part of it.

    Is it true then that baked into the $2,500 is the “cost” of not getting a pay increase? And so the actual average increase in cost for health coverage would be far less than $2,500 a year?

    Roughing numbers a bit here, but 2.5% pay increase on $70k is $1,750. Which, assuming an “average” worker, would mean $750 more a year for health coverage. Which somehow becomes $10,000…?


  106. - Formerpol - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    The trend seems to be to throw hissy-fits when you don’t get your way: go on strike or demonstrate and chant in the streets. All to get the taxpayers to pay more for your needs. Strikers will not have much public sympathy here.


  107. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    If Corncob works at a Springfield hospital then the bulk of his/her salary comes from medicare, medicaid, public employee health insurance and subsidized ACA plans…all tax money. Shouldn’t I have a big say in his/her raises and benefits since he/she is paid with my tax dollars? The lines between public and private workplaces can be very blurry. Some people need to understand which hand feeds them too.


  108. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    Corncob,

    Glad to know that our servicemen and women are not Federal taxpayers. Neither are the Border Patrol nor the FBI.


  109. - kitty - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    Mr. Murashko didn’t mention Rauner’s demand to privatize services without being required to demonstrate cost effectiveness. Where is the concern for taxpayers from members of the IL GA?


  110. - Former State Worker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    I’m glad I left state employment last year. I’m so much happier in my new job not having to worry about this nonsense.

    I am fully behind the state workers here. They really did nothing wrong. Rauner never even attempted to negotiate fairly and is essentially given AFSCME no choice but to strike.


  111. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:12 pm:

    The magic eight ball sees a future downsizing of state government.


  112. - Trump in 2020 - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:12 pm:

    At my office AFSCME said we should vote for the strike even if we will not participate because it will scare Rauner. If they did that at every office it would throw off the true sentiment of the results. Rauner doesn’t appear to be scared. (Please don’t respond by saying this didn’t happen - there were 80 members there)


  113. - Black Ivy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    AFSCME is a relic of the past. State employees have been cajoled far too long. Their less-than-desirable work ethic and bloated salaries are precisely why we are in this State budget mess. I stand with Governor Rauner! Enough is enough!


  114. - Earnest - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    I thought the statement from the governor’s office to be strong. It has specifics and makes AFSCME sound very unreasonable. It sidesteps the contention that he wants to privatize state functions and be able to give out lucrative contracts to large corporations (actually, same approach he has to human services). I think he’ll have a strong message (as usual) coming through in coverage of the vote.


  115. - HangingOn - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:14 pm:

    ==If they did that at every office==

    Wasn’t done at mine, so I can honestly say it wasn’t every office.


  116. - LocalGovGuy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:14 pm:

    I work for a local muni. Our employee share of insurance costs haven’t gone up too bad, but the deductible keeps rising. Right now, family coverage is $154 a month. The in-network deductible is $7,800 and out-of-network is $15,600. I have no idea how this compares to the current AFSCME contract or the Gov’s proposed, or private industry. I do know that talking about share of premium is pointless without talking about out of pocket costs.


  117. - Former State Worker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    The biggest issue for me was the privatization.

    I could deal with the health insurance increases, the pay freezes, 40 hour work weeks, etc. Agreeing to a contract where there are no protections against outsourcing is agreeing to giving up your job. If there were protections against unlimited privatization I wouldn’t have been so motivated to move on from state employment.


  118. - HangingOn - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:17 pm:

    ==future downsizing of state government.==

    Hate to tell you, the employees have been taking care of that all by themselves. My agency lost 12% of it’s staff the last 2 years due to retirements and people fleeing for the private sector.


  119. - BBG Watch - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:19 pm:

    Considering Illinois is surrounded by red, I really hope all union members stand together and get behind AFSCME. I’m not a union member, but what the governor is trying to do is wrong. BTW - to strike or demonstrate is a fundamental right.


  120. - Union proud - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:19 pm:

    Say it is 81% yes out of 80% voting. That’s 65%. 2/3rds of your strike eligible workforce saying they rather walk off the job and miss pay than take your contract offer is not trivial and not to be dismissed.

    Kind of calls into question JT’s claim that if Afscme leadership put the contract to the members for a vote it would get approved. It wouldn’t. And the only other bargaining unit to get terms even close to afscme’s were the nurses. And they voted it down…


  121. - A Jack - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:20 pm:

    Recently AFSCME went to court to get all state employees paid, even the ones that will cross. It also sent a message to Rauner that state employees are not willing to go without pay for very long.

    So you don’t think Rauner has the ability to wait this out if AFSCME does strike? I doubt if he will fire anybody. Employees will start trickling back to work after a few days. I have been a union supporter, but the union is going to have to get much smarter if they want to win this strike.


  122. - Bruce - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:20 pm:

    Together we bargain, divided we beg!


  123. - Springfieldish - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    McBroom - “How do you think the average taxpayer feels about double-digit year over year pay increases for state workers, combined with better-than-private-sector non-salary benefits,”

    You know, if you have to lie to support your position, you need a different position. 20% year after year? Utterly false. Wife is a 30+ year employee of the Department of Revenue. No 20%. Nada. Show some data.

    Better than private-sector benefits? Silly obfuscation. What’s the salary ceiling in the private sector, Broom? Life’s a trade-off. State workers live with a defined salary cap, private sector no such thing. And son, ask the folks at Abbott Labs or Baxter about their benefits packages. State employees are in the upper end of the COST of their benefits and the lower fifth in the amount of benefits. Data is on the NCSL website. And Illinois is very close to the lowest number of state employees per capita.


  124. - Former State Worker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    “So you don’t think Rauner has the ability to wait this out if AFSCME does strike? I doubt if he will fire anybody” - A Jack

    He won’t fire anybody because that’s illegal. If it gets that far this is a legally authorized strike.


  125. - Cassandra - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    The timing doesn’t seem that great, with both parties getting ready to hit us Illinois residents with a big, regressive tax increase. But AFSCME couldn’t wait forever, I guess. Somebody had to make a decision. A tough one, especially given the continuing dearth of secure, well-playing jobs, in the private marketplace.


  126. - Truthteller - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    The Governor has been insisting that AFSCME leaders were standing in the way of a settlement. This overwhelming strike vote tells me that the leaders are very much in sync with the members.
    Once again it’s Rauner who’s out of step.
    His bargaining proposals are about as balanced as his budget.


  127. - Texas Red - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    the union will push the privatization issue and downplay the wages. This is all part of their tactics to ensure they can have the strike declared an unfair labor practice strike rather than a wage issue or economic strike. It might not mean much to the average citizen - but under labor law the difference is huge. In an unfair labor practice strike the worker are not easily replaced; under an economic strike they can be.


  128. - Rogue Roni - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    Don’t forget. There hasn’t been public outrage due to the lack of budget because the government Still runs for John Q Public. Even if half of AFSCME members walk out everything stops.


  129. - Springfieldish - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    The real question here is how much Scott Drury is going to donate to the strike fund. His resignation would be a good start.


  130. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    As a point of comparison.
    I’m not a member of AFSCME, but I am a state employee, and a different union member. I pay $316 per month for health insurance on a family of 4. The health insurance coverage I have is fabulous coverage in my opinion, the only downside being that Doctors don’t want to take my family because it takes upwards of 6 months for them to get paid (but thats getting on a tangent).

    My point being, looking only at the health insurance cost issue, I would not have any heartburn over paying significantly more for health insurance of this caliber; particularly if they would state paying it in a timely enough manner that doctors would not want to take my family as new patients.

    That said, I know health care premiums is not the only issue. I understand the quandry AFSCME members are in at this point, and if I were a member I would be scared senseless that the Governor would replace me if I were to strike.

    There’s no easy answers in this, and members will have to do some serious soul searching, in my opinion, as to actually going out on strike to stand up for what they think is a faircontract.


  131. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    ==By using terms such as “hardworking taxpayers” and “hardworking families” the connotation is that state employees fit into neither one of those categories. I wish they would stop saying such things.==

    That goes for both sides. How many times have the public unions used the term “working families” to defend their members, therefore implying no one else but public sector employees work. It’s insulting to me and my “working wife”.


  132. - WhoKnew - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    - Lomez -
    Monthy premium is $362 for my wife and myself. $2896 is reimburse for 8 months back to 7/2016.
    4 more months of an extra $362 = $1448
    2 additional years of extra premiums 24 x $362 = $4344,

    $2896 + $1448 + $4344 = $ 8688

    Thanks goodness we stretch it out long enough to skip the 1st year of no Contract.

    I think the rest of the $10,000 is COLA money from no wage increase for the full 4 years.

    I voted yes because of the Privatization clause, myself.


  133. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    ==State workers live with a defined salary cap, private sector no such thing.==

    This couldn’t be farther from the truth. All companies I’ve worked at have caps. I’ve worked with plenty of folks on the older end of the spectrum in roles such as BA’s, lawyers, accountants, software engineers, etc. and they were all capped out. Their only way to the next salary level was a promotion.


  134. - Stones - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    Having been through an AFSCME strike (albeit from the Management side), I wish them the best of luck. It will be tough and they’ll need to hold their ground. I don’t blame them for being ready to walk as the terms being imposed give them no choice but to strike. Be prepared that public opinion will probably not be in your favor. Nobody (Management, Union or Public) wins under this scenario.


  135. - Scooteriffic! - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:47 pm:

    The talk about State employees not being taxpayers is almost as laughable as Captain Carhartts statements about what he thinks is fair to Illinois taxpayers. My 1040’s show my tax burden was 20% while he paid 10%. If he wants to talk about fair, then he needs to pony up another 10% so he can be “fair” to Illinois taxpayers!


  136. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    AFSCME vs. Rauner is not “the poor vs. the 1%”

    AFSCME vs. Rauner is a large number of middle class members vs. a flat tax hike on everyone which will hurt the poor and middle class because of the state constitution.

    That doesn’t make AFSCME wrong, but again (and again and again), median IL household income is $60,000 and are getting hit with tax increases every where they look. Whatever his motivations, Rauner speaks for them.


  137. - Signal and Noise - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    The most disturbing part of the Rauner Admin’s angle here is the whole “volunteer government” pipe dream. They try and say AFSCME hates the Boy Scouts and apple pie and America. What they are really saying is they think so little of what state employees actually do that a group of volunteer kids would be a fine replacement for a paid employee. This is pretty sick thinking.


  138. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    What gets lost in this health insurance premium vs wage increases debate is the 8% of State employees who are not a member of a union. In that 8% are employees of independent boards and commissions who haven’t had pay raises in four or more years and whose pay is not on par with employees of agencies under the Office of the Governor. Many employees of the other constitutional offices are not compensated as well as those in an agency under the Office of the Governor. The health insurance premium increase would apply to those employees too.


  139. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:54 pm:

    It’s a little better than I thought and much better than the info I had in the not very distant past. So it’s moving in the right direction. It’s gratifying and reassuring to see this progress, even though there’s more to do.

    It’s a repudiation of Rauner and JT. Workers overwhelmingly don’t want to swallow the terrible contract deal–especially when Rauner and his super-rich funders and supporters are not being compelled and refuse to contribute their fair share to fix the state.

    The union is the workers. Rauner and his allies go for the “love the worker, hate the union leaders/union” approach to divide people. There are many union leaders and not just a few at the top. The leaders keep doing great work all throughout the organization, as do the members who make their voices heard.


  140. - Cassandra - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    This feels like one of those tragedies we read in high school, where everybody is stuck on the path. AFSCME had to make another move at some point, polling the membership is a logical next step. And Rauner, whether you like him or not, clearly believes in what he’s doing as an important part of getting the state’s finances in order. And if you look around the country, what he’s doing is hardly out of the mainstream.

    What will be interesting is how this vote will affect the grand bargain, if it ever goes anywhere. Will our legislators become more or less risk averse. Will they be more or less likely to
    throw up their hands and wait until 2018. Or will it have no effect at all.


  141. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    The Governor wants more for insurance and I get that. But, this is the same insurance they are 18 months and millions of dollars behind in paying. Will be guarantee that our bills will be 100% up to date? Well paying our premiums are up to date and have been all along. Just think about that for a minute.


  142. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    Dennis Murashko really “gilded the lily” on his press release.

    I can see his breathless surprise when: 1. Boy Scouts morph into privatized employees, 2. Merit employees become beholden to supervisors, and 3. State employees are moved over to Trumpcare.


  143. - Piece of Work - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:06 pm:

    Scooteriffic—-How much did you pay in federal taxes? Please list the dollar amount.

    Then tell us how much Rauner paid in taxes, listing the dollar amount.

    We will await your answer.


  144. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===Scooteriffic—-How much did you pay in federal taxes? Please list the dollar amount.

    Then tell us how much Rauner paid in taxes, listing the dollar amount.===

    Percentage of income is the better measure.

    Paying “millions” isn’t consistent with understanding the percentage of income.


  145. - Laughing at Roberta - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:16 pm:

    watched the whole thing and wow Roberta lied a lot! people talked about the contracts and whatever you wanted INSIDE the polling place, you got asked if you wanted an “I voted yes” sticker BEFORE you voted, the ballots went into a cardboard box with a hole cutout in it, and when you voted you were watched and if it was NO your ballot was removed. nothing was upbeat as she described at all and it was a total joke. where’s the strike fund? union members pay in around 1.3mil per month and this money is where exactly? and when do we can the exact numbers sent out? or what they call exact anyway!!


  146. - Team Warwick - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    The argument presented about “the union hates the boy scouts” is totally lame. Volunteers are great - when applied to supplemental roles they are a force multiplier. But not when applied to essential basics. You wouldnt pay your mortgage with your “disposable income” play money? No.
    You pay your mortgage first out of budgeted fixed expenditures. Going to the movies after the bills are paid is the disposable income play money choice. Its like that with volunteers too. They show up on disposable free time choice driving disposable income fuel for their vehicle.
    What if their boss jacks their health insurance premium way up and their disposable income goes way down? They arent going to show up to do the freebie task for you.


  147. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    AFSCME members if you do strike, use your free time to check out the job market in the private sector. If you do find something better, then working for the state take it. Do not let that generous state pension influence your choice!


  148. - Mr.Black - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    Imagine AG Madigan wins in the upper court, thereby stopping employee pay.

    At that point, state employees have a choice: A) Go to work and don’t get paid. Or B) Strike and don’t get paid.

    Anyone can choose to strike, regardless of yay or nay vote or lack of vote.


  149. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    I work in the private sector and for the past decade have had NO raise and my health insurance has gone up each year. Four of those years we took a 10% pay cut. So yeah, each new year I make less than the previous year. Fun times.


  150. - walker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:26 pm:

    Banning Boy Scouts! LOL

    Can’t the counselor avoid the political fluff and present a rational position?


  151. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:26 pm:

    == this vote is about the Governor wanting to privatize jobs so that his “business friends” can make higher profits by robbing the state coffers.==

    If the union intends to win the prize message, this needs to be stated all day, every day. It should be part of every union or employee response to any question.


  152. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    Texas Red. You are right about unfair labor strike. But it is because our proof of unfair labor is so strong. Walking away from the table, the ALJ judgement, the JT emails, the polling and contacting of our membership to sow dissent and to get us to resign from the union. I could go on for hours about all the violations of labor law. I have seen Yokich in action. We’ll gets lawful strike. But I don’t think we’ll come to that.

    Rauner doesn’t have the funds to win.
    Until he gets the money, he’s shooting blanks.


  153. - Formerpol - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:32 pm:

    Public employee unions do not enjoy any inherent, fundamental right to strike. Ask the Air Traffic Controllers. It depends on the various state and federal laws. It can be taken away by legislation.


  154. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    ==Public employee unions do not enjoy any inherent, fundamental right to strike.==

    They do in Illinois right now. Besides I have no idea what your point is.


  155. - Generic Drone - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    Ok. First off, Afscme is not being offered anything at all similar to other unions. Second,we have already lost the public relations battle. 3rd we must decide to stand up for ourselves. Im not letting Rauner get away with this. This is only the first attempt by Rauner. He will do more damage in 2 years. So now or never? I choose now.


  156. - Generic Drone - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    Oh, another thing. Where did Rauners support for “all the hardworking state employees suddenly go?


  157. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:38 pm:

    Obamacare contains a 40% tax on cadillac health plans. Who is supposed to pay this increase, the employer or the employee ?

    in the private sector, it is most certainly the employee


  158. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:43 pm:

    ==Obamacare==

    Well, since that’s going away your argument is pointless. Can’t complain about Obamacare on the one hand and then use it to justify your actions on the other. Pick a lane.


  159. - CapnCrunch - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    “Some people need to understand which hand feeds them too.”

    Last November Illinois non farm employment consisted of 5,243,000 people in the private sector and 852,000 in the public sector. The 5,243,000 are going to be keenly interested in the reason why an income tax increase is necessary if it isn’t for increased services.


  160. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    cap’n crunch. That’s funny I thought madigan was the reason why everything is wrong. Pick a lane.


  161. - Former State Worker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:09 pm:

    “Public employee unions do not enjoy any inherent, fundamental right to strike. Ask the Air Traffic Controllers. It depends on the various state and federal laws.”

    You are wrong. The Air Traffic Controllers engaged in an illegal strike which is why they were fired.

    AFSCME has taken the appropriate steps to conduct a lawful strike.


  162. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    Where did his support for State workers go?
    Same place his support for Higher Ed went.


  163. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===Public employee unions do not enjoy any inherent, fundamental right to strike. Ask the Air Traffic Controllers===

    If you are so clueless that you can’t understand how the PATCO strike isn’t germane to this, maybe you should read what PATCO was about.


  164. - Piece of Work - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    Just curious Willy, why do you feel the need to answer questions directed at others? Heck, you don’t answer questions directed at you.

    I think the government would rather get 10-15% of $200 million than 20% of $60K.


  165. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    ===government would rather get 10-15% of $200 million than 20% of $60K.===

    … Or 3.75% off $200 million and 3.75% of $60,000

    You think you pay more, your percentage goes down?

    Yikes.


  166. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:22 pm:

    ===You think you pay more, your percentage goes down?===

    Ugh.

    “You think you make more, your percentage should go down?”

    How is that going to pass muster?


  167. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:24 pm:

    Anyhow, there’s no way AFSCME strikes before Rauner implements his terms, correct?

    Do we have any clue when we’ll hear from the court on that?


  168. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:25 pm:

    ===… you don’t answer questions directed at you.===

    You think anyone cares where I went to college? You needs a new schtick.


  169. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    Robert the 1rst, we could hear at any moment. My thought is that it won’t drop till Rauner has the money to prosecute hid labor war. My guess


  170. - Robert the 1st - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:30 pm:

    Is there reason to think the court is a Rauner ally?


  171. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    Just a side report. Morale is the best it’s been in s long long time. Standing up allowed us to find our mojo and dignity. People are frisky. Feels good


  172. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    Robert , yes the 4th is a conservative appellate court. So yes as I understand it. But there again I don’t know.


  173. - BK Bro - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:41 pm:

    Cool press release and PR campaign. Why doesn’t AFSCME just go on strike instead of continuously threatening to?


  174. - whataboutbob - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    I think the big thing in this PR battle which I agree AFSCME is losing big time and needs to work on ASAP is this taxpayer vs AFSCME/State Employee Rauner likes to use. I’m a state worker and I pay my fair share of state taxes and if you think about it, I’m actually paying myself to work for the state through my state tax contribution.

    I wish I could talk to the AFSCME PR people as I got a background in it and a good way to counteract Rauner’s message is to explain that AFSCME state employees are state income taxpayers too and this state income tax increase will hurt us too along with a health insurance increase, etc, plus explain to the public that it is not just AFSCME workers health insurance rates that will increase, but all state employees not covered under a union, retirees, and university employees. If those two messages were relayed. I know it would begin to sway the public’s opinion.


  175. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:47 pm:

    Well BK Bro we can do that now that we have had a vote. We are doing everything by the book and legal. So now we are good to go. Cocked and loaded. Ready to rock.

    But we won’t need too. Rauner doesn’t have the money.


  176. - Former State Worker - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    “Cool press release and PR campaign. Why doesn’t AFSCME just go on strike instead of continuously threatening to?”

    I know you’re being flippant but unless you haven’t been paying attention for the past year and a half they’ve done everything they can to avoid a strike. Strikes hurt everyone so they have to make sure that their members are in support of it and that they are out of options. They are close to the point where there are no options left.


  177. - BK Bro - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:59 pm:

    @Honeybear - ready to rock by doing what Rauner probably wants anyways? DRauner doesn’t have the money for what?

    @Former State Worker - been following since day 1. IMO, AFSCME already is out of options unless they get a new governor. They’re losing the PR battle. Their workers can’t afford to strike. If they go on strike, they’ll likely go backward, not forward.


  178. - Compromise requires two sides - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:05 pm:

    All unions that have contracts with the state must show solidarity and conduct strike authorization votes. If the governor raises insurance premiums that will apply to all state employees not just afscme


  179. - Boat Captain - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    AFSCME lost the PR battle two years ago. They will never get it back now. I am a retiree and face the same health insurance program that the workers do. AFSCME was not prepared two years ago for this. While it has never happened before they should have got in front with PR. I am a former union member and am very disappointed with the AFSCME leadership. Rauner has outflanked them at every turn.


  180. - Get a Job!! - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:13 pm:

    @BK – I’m not sure you fully get it, man. Yes, a strike is going to harm many members financially……but agreeing to a contract that very well could eliminates their job, that is much more harmful. This isn’t a choice of whether to lose a couple thousand or several thousand. It’s a choice of whether to lose a couple thousand or your job. The member really have no choice but to strike. Those who voted no, probably don’t understand what’s at stake here or they’re so close to retirement that none of it matters.


  181. - d.p.gumby - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:20 pm:

    Rauner-scammy


  182. - Anon123 - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    Health Insurance needs to be looked at as the total cost. When I left the state several years ago the total cost (what I would have had to pay to continue under COBRA) was over $21,000 for myself and 2 dependents. This was before Affordable Care Act.

    For the small business that I started, the total cost was for private insurance was less than $7,000 annually for myself and 2 dependents ($2,500 deductible 100% payment after deductible). This same plan (grandfathered under ACA) now costs me over $23,000 annually. When reviewing ACA plans this year equivalent plans were around the same price point.

    State Union Contracts are suppose to be for 4 years. Therefore, under the current market conditions, you should expect a significant increase to health insurance premiums (or reduction in benefits) since the last contract was signed over 6 years ago.

    On the private side companies make decisions annually about how much of the insurance costs (or reduction in benefits) will occur based on the companies operations and balance sheet. If a private company continually absorbs these cost without a strong balance sheet, the company will no longer exist.

    The state’s balance sheet is not strong - AFSCME argument of increase insurance cost of 100% (about 17% per year) does not help support its cause.


  183. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    –“The vote to authorize a strike is an attack on our state’s hardworking taxpayers and all those who rely on critical services provided everyday.–

    I guess that makes them another Enemy of the People.

    What does it make the guy engineering a tripling of the backlog of bills in just two years?

    Double-Secret-Probation Enemy of the People?


  184. - Forced dues - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    In my many years with AFSCME, saw it several times. AFSCME had contract ratifacztion, they took thE ballots and counted them. They would then give the members AFSCME’s results. Pass a national right to work and see the results then!


  185. - A Non - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:38 pm:

    He does in my bureau. They keep hiring non-union workers to do the same thing as union workers so if we walk out it’s just business as usual here.

    - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 2:47 pm

    But we won’t need too. Rauner doesn’t have the money.


  186. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:41 pm:

    Rauner mouthpiece forgot to add that as a state worker, I am also lousy in bed. /s


  187. - Peters Post - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:41 pm:

    Actually Scouts don’t need to volunteer and be approved. Our ethic includes low impact activities which means we leave the park in better condition than we find it and we see a need and meet is without being asked.


  188. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 3:52 pm:

    Lets hear what the courts decide on the “impasse”.


  189. - Guess Again - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:10 pm:

    What employer in their right mind wouldn’t sign a union contract for a 4 year wage freeze with the employees paying 8.5% more of their insurances costs? Damn, I just answered my own question. One who isn’t in his right mind. Sounds like this deal saves the state money.


  190. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:15 pm:

    @- Guess Again - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:10 pm:

    =What employer in their right mind wouldn’t sign a union contract for a 4 year wage freeze with the employees paying 8.5% more of their insurances costs? Damn, I just answered my own question. One who isn’t in his right mind. Sounds like this deal saves the state money. =

    Someone who wants to destroy the union!


  191. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:22 pm:

    Also, the courts have in front of them a request for a permanent stay (of the implementation of a final best offer) pending the appellet court decision on impasse.


  192. - Guess Again - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:39 pm:

    What kind of employer would not sign a union contract that contains a 4 year wage freeze and requires its employees to pay 8.5% more for their insurance. Sounds like it saves the state money.


  193. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:42 pm:

    Wow. I haven’t seen AFSCME this unified since they all voted for Bruce Rauner


  194. - A Non - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    As much as I want them to grant it, i have a feeling they’ll deny the motion. I could be wrong about the standard but I think they have to show a likelihood of success on the merits of the appeal to get a permanent stay. I want the appeal to succeed but am not sure AFSCME can prove the ILRB erred.


  195. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:53 pm:

    I wonder how much ‘hanging chad’ there was.


  196. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:58 pm:

    –I wonder how much ‘hanging chad’ there was.–

    Milton Berle here, with the topical humor.

    What’s with those Beatles, with the hair, and the yeah, yeah, yeah?


  197. - Me Again - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 5:00 pm:

    Leave Chad out of this!


  198. - AC - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 5:01 pm:

    One thing that I think favors AFSCME’S case was the rejection of the Administrative Law Judges recommendation to the ILRB. From my (quick, non lawyer) review of past ILRB decisions, rejecting an ALJ recommendation seemed unusual.


  199. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 5:11 pm:

    Word. Glad you appreciated the humor.
    More of a Red Skelton fan myself.
    Didnt care much for the Beatles. You know, that druggie thing.


  200. - A Non - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 5:14 pm:

    AC, I hope you’re right but the ALJ “partial impasse” opinion seemed pretty shaky. I think the Board was right to say either there’s an impasse or there isn’t. Unfortunately, they went in the way I didn’t want them to.


  201. - A Non - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 5:27 pm:

    Also, the ALJ found there was an impasse on privatization which is the whole ballgame. So even if the board gets reversed we still have to deal with that. I just don’t see a good path forward with any of this. I’m ready to move to Trappist-1.


  202. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 5:59 pm:

    - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 4:42 pm:

    Wow. I haven’t seen AFSCME this unified since they all voted for Bruce Rauner
    =================================================

    Elections have consequences,Chapter One.


  203. - kitty - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 6:22 pm:

    Rauner’s removal of contract language requiring a determination of cost effectiveness be made for privatization proposals is a bad deal for taxpayers and an existential threat to AFSCME. This is objective evidence for the ILRB and possibly courts of law that Rauner had no intention of bargaining in good faith. Put another way, Rauner is willing to expose taxpayers to greater costs and likely a lower overall quality of service (re: Maximus / DHS) in order to reward potential corporate service vendors and destroy AFSCME. Why AFSCME is not emphasizing this with any messaging represents extreme negligence.


  204. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 6:26 pm:

    I like the headlines in the stories about this, that members authorize the bargaining committee to call a strike, and the contents of the stories, that the union wants to negotiate but Rauner refuses.

    I am also pleased to see that Rauner isn’t saying state workers rejected the union leaders, so he can continue trying to divide and conquer. The vast majority of workers know what kind of sandwich Rauner is serving up.


  205. - Revenuer - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 6:32 pm:

    Couldn’t agree more with kitty. Privatization is the whole ball of wax. As an AFSCME member, I find it frustrating that they rarely mention it. And I’ve never seen them express it as clearly as you just did.


  206. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 6:46 pm:

    “Put another way, Rauner is willing to expose taxpayers to greater costs and likely a lower overall quality of service (re: Maximus / DHS) in order to reward potential corporate service vendors”

    That’s right. Out of one side of his mouth the governor talks about saving the state money. Out of the other he wants to remove protections for taxpayers and those who receive government help by removing efficiency and economy from subcontracting language.

    “Why AFSCME is not emphasizing this with any messaging represents extreme negligence.”

    The union emphasized this repeatedly to its members, which likely explains why there is overwhelming rejection of Rauner’s contract terms. I agree that it’s time to really push this message to the public, as well as the horrible health insurance deal and the bogus merit pay system that could rip off up to 75% of workers. Who likes doing merit work and then being stiffed, especially when it looks so arbitrary?


  207. - Arlington Cardinal - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 7:05 pm:

    I don’t think the public cares about the possibility of privatization- and they shouldn’t! If the job is done at a lower cost to the public and the standards are met, there’s no issue.


  208. - Cardsfan - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 7:08 pm:

    == If the job is done at a lower cost to the public and the standards are met, there’s no issue==

    Standards won’t be met. Private sector is there to make a profit. Period. They don’t care if standards are met. Or if fed matching dollars are lost. Or if programs dry up and services are lost.

    They are there for the $$. Nothing else.


  209. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 7:34 pm:

    Privatizing the lottery worked well. snark


  210. - A Non - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 7:37 pm:

    That’s how it is now. He wants to change it so he can pick anyone, even if they’re more expensive, and make you pay for it. He won’t have to prove that his choice is cheaper.

    - Arlington Cardinal - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 7:05 pm:

    I don’t think the public cares about the possibility of privatization- and they shouldn’t! If the job is done at a lower cost to the public and the standards are met, there’s no issue.


  211. - AC - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 7:43 pm:

    A Non, we don’t even know if Trappist-1 is habitable, then again we don’t know if Illinois will be habitable after Rauner is done with it either.


  212. - Smalls - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 7:47 pm:

    Everyone knows the so called strike is a phony play by the Union. State workers live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to strike. The Union is not fooling anyone. They are supposed to call for a one day walkout that they believe will scare the administration. However, the administration will call the bluff and I sincerely hope the Rauner administration fires every one of them. Taxpayers support Rauner !!!


  213. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 8:29 pm:

    Really smalls? How do you know their supposed to call for a one day strike? God, where do you people come from? What the hell.


  214. - Me Again - Thursday, Feb 23, 17 @ 11:08 pm:

    Smalls is just Rauner in disguise. Good try Governor. Go back to the ski slopes!


  215. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 1:22 am:

    for a strike vote, 81% is on the low side


  216. - Downstate - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 5:52 am:

    I sampled the 37.5 hour issue with some random people yesterday. It won’t be a PR nightmare for the union. It will be a PR tsunami. One person asked when our state workers started following the French


  217. - Honeybear - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 7:29 am:

    Look Downstate, I get two 15 minute breaks a day. subtract that from 40 hrs. What do you get? So what Rauner wants to do is to make me work 2 and a half hours free before overtime kicks in? Bite me.

    Now some people say I get a half hour paid lunch but this never made sense to me because I get an hour for lunch. Regardless, of which it is I actually work a 40 hour work week. It’s always made sense that technically if you subtract out the breaks you get the 37.5
    Make sense?


  218. - Downstate - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 8:15 am:

    Honeybear,
    “Bite me”? I was simply offering input on what the (limited) sampling of public perception is on 37.5 hours. Would you care not to know?


  219. - Steve - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 8:17 am:

    Party is over AFSCME. Taxpayers are fed up.


  220. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 8:18 am:

    - Steve -

    AFSCME members are taxpayers too.

    You’re welcome.


  221. - City Zen - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 8:56 am:

    ==AFSCME members are taxpayers too.==

    …whose income, unlike private sector workers, is derived and entirely dependent on tax revenue.

    No need to thank me.


  222. - Robert the 1st - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 9:14 am:

    =o what Rauner wants to do is to make me work 2 and a half hours free before overtime kicks in?=

    No, you’d still be paid.


  223. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 9:16 am:

    ===…whose income, unlike private sector workers, is derived and entirely dependent on tax revenue.===

    Captain Obvious,

    The only way you deserve thanks is if getting rid of every single state worker, every single one, was an option.

    Your ignorance is noted. Your sarcasm within your ignorance made me laugh… not with you, lol


  224. - AbeLinkedinVampireHeadHunter - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 9:33 am:

    “Rauner’s removal of contract language requiring a determination of cost effectiveness be made for privatization proposals is a bad deal for taxpayers and an existential threat to AFSCME…Why AFSCME is not emphasizing this with any messaging represents extreme negligence.” -kitty

    Rauner is controlling the message masterfully by, what a surprise, staying on message. Particularly about health care increases and pay freezes, while avoiding the nasty privatization aspect.

    Interestingly AFSCME is staying on message, Rauner’s message. Mind boggling. Extremely negligent indeed.


  225. - Adam - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    Osewgo - Non-public union taxpayers get nothing out of higher taxes for union perks, but union workers do. Your argument about union works being taxpayers too is awful. And, don’t tell me that they provide services. Everyone provides services at their jobs; that doesn’t mean greedy public sector workers should get more and more at the expense of everyone else for those services. You lose.


  226. - Osretard Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    My name is Oswego Willy, and I work for the state but lie that I do not, and I post comments all day long on Cap Fax because I am a lazy, lying, sack of crap.


  227. - HangingOn - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    - Osretard Willy -

    That user name and comment is just offensive and uncalled for.


  228. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    ===Your argument about union works being taxpayers too is awful.===

    Yeah, but it’s true. You don’t like it, but it’s true. Too bad.

    ===Everyone provides services at their jobs; that doesn’t mean greedy public sector workers should get more and more at the expense of everyone else for those services.===

    Whatever you think they should be cut, you should be it too.

    10%?

    Fine. I’ll take that 10% of your salary and benefits.

    Nah, your argument is a losing argument.

    Good try thou.

    To - “O” Willy -

    The name is offensive, not to me, but to people. Speaks volumes about you. I don’t work for the state, and if that’s the “best” rant you can muster, you need to work on it, lol.

    I’ve heard better on playgrounds.


  229. - Osretard Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    What I earn does not come from taxpayers, once again you prove to be dumb. You saying union workers pay tax is like me saying I need food to survive. The fact is they get something out of the taxes being raised, and non-public workers do not, so that blows your bad argument up. Greedy public sector workers as yourself, and yes, you are one, are in for a wake up call. At some are willing to admit they are one unlike you Osretard. Keep up and governor’s own by the way; make sure to copy and paste that all day long! Oh, and when your health insurance goes up, it will not hurt me at all. Enjoy!


  230. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    ===Greedy public sector workers as yourself, and yes, you are one===

    I’m not a state worker. Whatever you are “consuming”… moderation and not in the morning!

    I frustrate you, I get it.

    It has to get boring standing on your porch all day yelling at clouds, it tough… and your lawn, I can’t forget about your lawn… everyone OFF!

    Maybe I’m wrong, you should up your meds, maybe a “day nurse”.

    ===The fact is they get something out of the taxes being raised, and non-public workers do not, so that blows your bad argument up.===

    Nah.

    Any budget at this point requires revenue. It’s not optional. If it were optional, Rauner would’ve balanced his phony budget and not had a $4-7 billion dollar hole.

    Math is hard for you, I get it, LOL


  231. - AbeLinkedinVampireHeadHunter - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    “The fact is they get something out of the taxes being raised, and non-public workers do not…”

    This speaks volumes about the perception on public services. You must be trolling. If not perhaps a strike would help you realize how much you do in fact “get something out of the taxes being raised.”


  232. - Oz Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    Abe, taxes do not have to be raised for pubic workers to keep providing services. They are threatening to hold the state hostage for raises in reality. Those raises help me and many others none. The state is also broke. And, if they go on strike, many will lose their jobs and be replaced. Time for a reality check. Enjoy.


  233. - AbeLinkedinVampireHeadHunter - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    Read the quote again, I wasn’t mentioning a tax hike and it appears no one else was.

    You are correct that taxes don’t have to be *increased* for state workers to provide services.

    The anti-state worker climate is ridiculous. There are talented workers who are entering year 3 (probably out of 4.. or more) of no raises. They could make more in the private sector. That is a fact.

    However, they provide valuable services, and for many that is worth a lower salary than they could command elsewhere. Why continue to beat on these people? It is insulting. In fact most of the state workers I know, are more concerned about Rauner demanding carte blanche to subcontract loyal and experienced state employees right out of their careers.


  234. - Ozzy Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    A tax hike would be needed for further raises and the insane current health insurance plan you are on, but we do not have enough of a realistic tax hike we could reach for all the debt we already have now. A tax hike is needed, but that money should not be going to greedy state workers raises or out of touch health insurance. State workers have been a part of the state going under with their demands and perks for votes. If you can earn more in the private sector, then go do it. Your pensions are doomed, and a reality check is very much needed. Enjoy. Non-union taxpayers are fed up, and we do not care if you lose your jobs at this point.


  235. - Ozzy Willy - Friday, Feb 24, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    Well, I must go now. Have a wondrous day Abe.


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