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*** UPDATED x1 *** Appellate court unanimously rules against Rauner on pay step increases

Monday, Nov 6, 2017

* AFSCME Council 31 press release…

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration is violating state labor law by refusing to allow thousands of state workers to move as scheduled through the state pay plan over the past two years, a state appellate court has ruled.

The state pay plan and collective bargaining agreements provide for state employees to progress via step increases after being hired. But Gov. Rauner’s Department of Central Management Services (CMS) has blocked employees represented by AFSCME—the largest union of state workers—from progressing through the pay plan’s steps since July 1, 2015, when the union’s most recent contract was scheduled to expire.

The appellate court’s decision reverses the Rauner-appointed Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB)’s dismissal of the union’s charge that the administration had committed an unfair labor practice by blocking step progression through the pay plan.

“We’re pleased that the court has halted Governor Rauner’s illegal action preventing thousands of public service workers from receiving their lawful step increases. This is money that working people were promised when they were hired, money they have earned and are counting on to help support their families and pay their bills,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said.

“Illegally denying steps to the newest-hired and lowest-paid state employees fits Bruce Rauner’s pattern of anti-worker behavior,” Lynch added. “Rauner should refrain from appealing this decision and move swiftly to place employees at the appropriate step on the pay scale.”

In its initial charge and its appeal, AFSCME pointed out that state law prevents either party to a collective bargaining agreement from making unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of employment while a new agreement is being negotiated, and requires employers to maintain the status quo.

“[T]here is no dispute that the step increases are a term or condition of employment, and there is no real question that [the Rauner administration] made a unilateral decision to withhold the step increases during negotiations,” the court found. “… [T]he ILRB’s finding that CMS did not commit an unfair labor practice was clearly erroneous”.

The court’s unanimous decision was issued today by a panel of three judges in the fifth appellate district.

The ruling is not yet posted online and I’ve asked the governor’s office for comment.

…Adding… The ruling is here.

*** UPDATE ***  From the Rauner administration…

The Labor Board ruled in our favor on the issue of step increases. Today the 5th District Appellate Court ruled against the State on that step issue and remanded the matter back to the Labor Board for further proceedings. The State is reviewing the decision and will decide shortly what next steps it plans to take.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

53 Comments
  1. - Perrid - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 4:37 pm:

    Everyone’s still under the tolling agreement aren’t they? Meaning that the old contract, with step increases, is still a binding agreement. Seems like the right decision to me. I assume that, if this holds up, there will be back pay?


  2. - Perrid - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 4:42 pm:

    Okay, seems I don’t know what I’m talking about. I thought the tolling agreement agreed upon was that everything would stay the same for the interim (including steps), but reading the ruling says otherwise. My bad.


  3. - PJ - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    A comprehensive list of Bruce Rauner’s successes as Governor:


  4. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 4:50 pm:

    ===I assume that, if this holds up, there will be back pay?===

    Rauner administration pay for services rendered? Lol, not bloody likely. He refused to pay vendors the money we were owed even after signing the contracts for it, knowing all along he was going to refuse to sign a budget. Do you think he won’t file an notion of some sort to stop pay going to state workers?

    That welching snake didn’t get rich by paying people and entities what was owed to them, he got rich by stripping assets and filing corporate bankruptcy papers in courthouses. As sure as the sun rises in the east, his lawyers are working on a way to get out of giving anyone back pay as I type this


  5. - AC - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 4:59 pm:

    What is the ILRB batting average these days, .239?


  6. - BucknIrish - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:02 pm:

    ==Rauner administration pay for services rendered? Lol, not bloody likely. He refused to pay vendors the money we were owed even after signing the contracts for it, knowing all along he was going to refuse to sign a budget.==

    Yes AFSCME workers will get back pay, just like state workers were still getting paid during the budget standoff. It’s almost impossible for the government to refuse to issue paychecks when a government employee shows up to work, there is a little more leeway when it comes to professional services. Although they could delay if there is more litigation


  7. - COPN - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:06 pm:

    I can’t remember if any of the recent budget bills specifically and sufficiently appropriated money for these step increases, but it sure looks like the Appellate Court sees the possibility of the SC finding in favor of Gov. Rauner if the approps weren’t there.

    Page 31: “We also note that the State/CMS
    court [which allowed Gov. Rauner to withhold pay] emphasized that the only issue it was deciding was whether contractual obligations
    in a nonexpired multiyear CBA were subject to sufficient appropriations from the
    legislature…The court’s emphasis on the “dominant public policy” of the appropriations
    clause indicates that the case might have broader application, however.” quoting State/CMS, 2016 IL 118422, ¶¶ 54 & 56.


  8. - Cubs in '16 - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:12 pm:

    Perhaps it’s time to replace the current ILRB members. They don’t appear able to accurately interpret labor law.


  9. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:13 pm:

    ==The Labor Board ruled in our favor on the issue of step increases. ==

    And the court just said they were wrong.


  10. - Shemp - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:15 pm:

    So, uh, was this budgeted…?


  11. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:17 pm:

    ==was this budgeted==

    No. That’s where the issue is going to be even if this is eventually settled in favor of the step increases.


  12. - Seats - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:19 pm:

    So could we be looking at a case of workers being given 2 step increases instantly but no back pay for the two years that they weren’t?


  13. - Judge Cooked - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:21 pm:

    Wow…Chapman, Cates & Goldenhersh as the three-judge draw in the Fifth in a labor case. The ball doesn’t bounce Rauner’s way for anything.


  14. - truthteller - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:25 pm:

    Is Rauner going to complain the Appelate Court is corrupt as he did of the Supreme Court?
    Perhaps it’s Mike Coli, the brother of John Coli, whom Rauner appointed to the ISLB, who is the corrupt player here. Coli is supposed to be a voice for workers on the Board, but voted for Rauner on the issue. I wonder why?


  15. - Shake - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:28 pm:

    Rauner Appeals To Supreme Court He Loses Big In 2018.. Rauner Self Destructs.. Like That…


  16. - Arsenal - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:31 pm:

    That Rauner would violate labor law to intentionally underpay people is perfectly in keeping with the guy who spent his first speech as Governor complaining that prison cooks make too much money.


  17. - Nick Name - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:33 pm:

    ===Is Rauner going to complain the Appelate Court is corrupt as he did of the Supreme Court?===

    Rauner: “Today the 5th District Appellate Court ruled against the State…”

    I.e., they’re traitors?


  18. - Former Hillrod - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:47 pm:

    I better get more popcorn. Hey Willy. Could this make for a Dad’s Home State two part special?


  19. - Former Hillrod - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:49 pm:

    Or better yet a spin-off series.


  20. - Former Hillrod - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:57 pm:

    Hey Rich. I think you need to change your clock here. The comments are posting under daylight savings time.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:59 pm:

    - Former Hillrod -

    I think you make is a 6-part series…

    “Busted”

    “The 6-part saga with a character we know “Bruce”, but in ways we never saw him before… angry, frustrated… ruthless, and rueful, we follow Bruce with his losses and… his losses… in hopes that in the end, winning means… AFSCME loses”

    I’ll pitch it to HBO, you can get a “created” credit.

    Fingers crossed.


  22. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 5:59 pm:

    Conservative contract law once again exposes Rauner as about as conservative as the next tax raising, pro-abortion gover - um, there’s no governor as liberal as that, is there?


  23. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 6:00 pm:

    It’s only one step in the process, but it’s an up day for AFSCME but not the employees. The employees probably won’t see their back pay until there is a different Governor.

    Be interesting to see what the labor board does now.

    The way I see it, Rauner has two choices.

    1) Have the ILRB stand pat in defiance for the court ruling or make up a new reason for denying the step raises while appealing this decision, which will be an uphill fight since the decision was unanimous

    or

    2)Let the ILRB approve the step raises as directed, then claim no appropriations and start a new round of court battles.

    Based on past actions, I’ll guess #2.


  24. - AnonAnon - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 6:09 pm:

    I can see the argument for no appropriations for the back pay, but not for placing employees in the correct step. Place the employees in the correct step going forward and deal with the back pay as a separate issue. I know it won’t happen, but one can dream.
    I agree with RNUG that no matter what the employees won’t see any back pay until a new governor is in office.


  25. - Frank Grimes - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 6:42 pm:

    What? He didn’t call the appellate court corrupt keepers of the status quo? He’d better fire whoever wrote that response, hire someone else, then fire them.


  26. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 7:07 pm:

    I am no fan of AFSCME, but I have a smile on my face after reading that Rauner has been knocked down a peg by the court. His efforts to bring Illinois down by eliminating bargaining rights for state workers have failed at every turn, thank goodness. The guy has to go, period.


  27. - blue dog dem - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 7:32 pm:

    Why is there a labor board?


  28. - WhatEver - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 7:57 pm:

    the real question is why a 1/3 of the board is not dem, 1/3 replub, 1/3 union. or maybe 3 of each of those plus 3 voted on by the public.


  29. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 8:03 pm:

    I guess Patty is issuing more even-tempered statements than we are used to.


  30. - McLincoln - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 8:15 pm:

    Rauner crew is 0-for-everything when the courts are involved. Maybe they should buy a Supreme Court seat or two along with the AG office.


  31. - Ferris Bueller - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 8:37 pm:

    I too assume we won’t see the back pay anytime soon (if at all), but if we were to receive it…will there be 12% interest for it being over a year past due?


  32. - Union Man - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 8:43 pm:

    “The court ruled against the state, L’Etat, c’est moi.”—Gov Bruce


  33. - Hottot - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 9:42 pm:

    I’m still owed back pay from 2011 to the sum of $2500. Rauner isn’t going to pay the raises. Even if the SCOIL rules against him, he’ll claim he’s “standing up to government union bosses and the corrupt court system that works against the taxpayer”, even if the GA appropriates the money. Rauner isn’t going to follow any law that supports his political opponents.


  34. - Retired Educator - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 6:47 am:

    As a former IDOC employee, I am still owed over 10 thousand dollars in back pay. Add that to the step raises I was denied during my final two years of work, and we are talking about a significant amount of money. The Governor simply does not know how to bargain, negotiate, aor pay the bills. He is a disaster, and I will vote against him no matter who runs against him.


  35. - Rabid - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 8:02 am:

    the labor board favored Rauner, illinois court favors the law


  36. - Anon - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 8:10 am:

    I am step 1c hired in 2014. I’ve now missed 3 step raises.

    I have a job that is considered important as I investigate fatalities and serious injuries.

    I’m struggling and falling behind because of my below entry level pay. I can’t sustain this. Nobody can


  37. - Frank Grimes - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 9:08 am:

    I hear you, Anon at 8:04. I’m glad someone else cares as everyone in my office is close to retirement and maxed out on steps. I’m four years on the job and got hired with entry level pay expecting annual raises. Ran up $15,000 in personal credit card debt when the pay got frozen. Thanks, Rauner.


  38. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 9:19 am:

    == Add that to the step raises I was denied during my final two years of work, and we are talking about a significant amount of money. ==

    Not only that, but your pension is lower than it should have been because your FAC was reduced. Be interesting to see if, once the steps are retroactively granted, if the pension is also recalculated and paid retroactively. In fairness, that is what should happen.


  39. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 9:40 am:

    RNUG

    Do you think we will receive the back pay?


  40. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    RNUG

    Do you think that we will receive back pay?


  41. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    == Do you think that we will receive back pay? ==

    Someday. Probably after there is a new Governor and the GA specifically appropriates the funds.


  42. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    == will there be 12% interest for it being over a year past due? ==

    Don’t believe that applies to salary.


  43. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    I’ll try again,

    Middle Class 1 - Rauner 0


  44. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    I think salaries is 7%.


  45. - A State Employee Guy - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    Finally combed through that decision, and if the IL SC takes it up, they’ll likely reverse it. AFSCME should never, ever have allowed the State to not pay steps in the past, let alone three times.

    Also, as someone mentioned here, if steps weren’t budgeted, that’s the end of it right there.


  46. - A State Employee Guy - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    Scratch that, it was only once. But once during a hiatus like this one, and not that long ago. Still not great.


  47. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    == if the IL SC takes it up, they’ll likely reverse it. ==

    Don’t think they will reverse it on the law. But they will agree with no appropriation, no payment … which is a different legal issue.


  48. - Frank Grimes - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 11:54 am:

    Agree with ASEG. We should have rolled the dice and walked off the job when Rauner froze the pay. 4-8 years at entry level pay is unbearable.


  49. - Me Again - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    “We should have rolled the dice…”

    Really? I’m glad you weren’t running things for AFSCME. That would have played right into Rainer’s hands. There were/are many issues in play here, not just yours.


  50. - Frank Grimes - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    “That would have played right into Rainer’s hands”

    Maybe. But what do you call letting him freeze wages for 4-8 years without a strike?


  51. - Me Again - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    I call it “living to fight another day”. If the Democrats win the governorship in 2018, perhaps some actual compromises will allow things to start to get better for all of the citizens of Illinois.


  52. - Harvest76 - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 5:00 pm:

    I’m confused, twice the ruling says motion to demand denied. Why does Gainers response say it was remanded?


  53. - Harvest76 - Tuesday, Nov 7, 17 @ 6:55 pm:

    Wow, awesome spellcheck. Remand, not demand. Rauner, not Gainer.


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