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AFSCME claims CMS e-mail is “misleading” and designed to “weaken unions”

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here

Dear xxxx,

Today you may have received a memo via the state email system from the Rauner Administration purporting to interpret the recent Supreme Court ruling in the case of Janus v AFSCME Council 31.

As you know all too well, this case actually originated with Bruce Rauner and he was on the steps of the US Supreme Court today to claim credit for the outcome.

The misleading memo sent out by Rauner aide Tim McDevitt is actually an attempt to further the agenda Bruce Rauner has had since Day One, to weaken unions in state government, especially AFSCME. For more than three years our union has refused to bow down to Rauner’s demands to freeze steps, double health insurance costs, and weaken rights on the job.

In other words, Rauner failed to break our union, just as he has failed at managing our state. So it’s no wonder that his administration has now set up a special website to try to push employees to abandon their union.

Here are the facts:

    * You do NOT need to use the anti-union website that the Rauner Administration has set up.

    * If you are a fair share feepayer, CMS will stop deduction of fees from your paycheck. You do not need to sign anything or take any further action. But if you agree that everyone who benefits from union representation should contribute toward the cost of that representation, then you should sign up as a member right away by contacting your local union.

    * If you are already a union member, you do NOT need to go to the new CMS website and sign up again. By signing a union membership card—whether that was last month or twenty years ago—you have “opted in” to being a union member. CMS provides the union with a list of all members every month based on the submission of those cards.

    * If you want to drop out of the union—and certainly we hope you won’t!—you can call AFSCME Council 31 at 312-641-6060.

Today’s message from the Rauner Administration is part and parcel of Bruce Rauner’s longstanding effort to divide and, yes, conquer state employees. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. If you’re already a full dues-paying member, great! You don’t have to do anything else today. If you’re a feepayer, take the time right now to contact your local union and sign a union membership card.

In Unity,

Tracey Abman
Associate Director

P.S. Unlike Bruce Rauner, AFSCME is not permitted to use the state email system to discuss the meaning of the Janus case. So please share this message via personal email (or hard copy print out) with your co-workers.


  1. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 4:49 pm:

    I predict many grievance filings in CMS’s future.

  2. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 4:59 pm:

    Nothing nefarious about using the state e-mail system. The administration (currently) is the employer and can use it to communicate with employees. Also I don’t think members who might want to drop out absolutely have to call the union to do so. Spin on both sides. Will be very interesting to see how this plays out among the rank and file.

  3. - Me Again - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:00 pm:

    Anyone who is thinking of “dropping out of the Union” should first check with a long-time non-union merit-comp worker and see how they like how they were treated over the last 30 years.

  4. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:02 pm:

    ==you can call AFSCME Council 31 at 312-641-6060.==

    Because who doesn’t want the Glengarry Glen Ross experience?

    Let folks do this online.

  5. - Raccoon Mario - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:08 pm:

    === Nothing nefarious about using the state e-mail system. ===

    We have to take an ethics training every year that says that state resources can’t be used for political agendas.

  6. - Anon - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:14 pm:

    Yeah everyone in the office laughed it off because we don’t pay anywhere near those numbers for membership.

    I kinda feel like Rauner is pulling “used car salesman” tactics.

  7. - Sue - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:23 pm:

    Fun to watch these gymnastics. 12 months from now union membership will be off at least 30 percent and likely 50

  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:27 pm:

    ===12 months from now union membership will be off at least 30 percent and likely 50===

    You should go for 60… 65… maybe 70…

    You could explain your drive-by…

  9. - Non Union - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:32 pm:


    You should see it from the inside. I hope people are smart enough to understand what just happened to them

  10. - mcc-irish - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:32 pm:

    agree with Anon=Rauner is pulling “used car salesman” tactics.=
    i’m a full paying AFSCME member in unit RC-063 and I pay $680.88 per year in union dues

  11. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:45 pm:

    Any changes in union status must be processed with the union, not the employer, as pointed out by AFSCME. Of course they’ll be following the Supreme Court directive, no need for government involvement. Did Rauner include a link for campaign donations on his website?

  12. - Enviro - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:49 pm:

    == Fun to watch these gymnastics. 12 months from now union membership will be off at least 30 percent and likely 50 ==

    Or it could be that 12 months from now union membership will increase as workers join together in common cause against this attack on organized labor.

  13. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 5:57 pm:

    Sue, care to explain yourself? I’m ready.

  14. - Rabid - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 6:02 pm:

    If you took an oath your only as good as your word

  15. - CrazyHorse - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 6:11 pm:

    Only speaking for myself, I am a Teamster member, and I will remain a FULL-PAYING member until the day I retire.

    Right now, we all need to analyze this decision, navigate the new environment created by it, and most importantly, learn how to thrive in it. Yes I said thrive. There simply is no other alternative.

  16. - Concerned Citizen - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 6:39 pm:

    Funny how Bruce is trying to convince everyone that this is about the right to free speech for state employee, yet I don’t even have the freedom to speak about the union if I wanted to, while ON BREAK at work.

    People also need to realize how important the union is for ALL of our community. If you don’t think so, consider this:

    - Bruce and company withheld steps to hard-working employees. Hundreds of millions of hard-earned dollars kept from state employees.

    - AFSCME fought the bogus action by Bruce and company, to the IL Supreme Court and AFSCME won.

    - Employees will now get placed on the correct step, and receive back pay of hundreds of millions of dollars they are owed. Many of these employees live and work in Springfield, IL.

    - Hundreds of millions of dollars are finally paid to middle class employees, and not only do they purchase needed goods and services for themselves, they stimulate the economy in the process. Sales tax revenue for the city will return to a decent stream, which also benefits everyone, etc.

    If you think Springfield has its problems now, you need a reality check. If you think Mom and pop stores are having a hard time now, wait until disposable income becomes a thing of the past. If unions hurt, we all will; just look at St. Louis, Decatur, Rockford and other cities where unions/middle class has disappeared.

  17. - Raunersilverspoon - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 6:51 pm:

    That email violates national labor relations. Employers can’t promise benefits to employees to discourage union membership.
    This is an attempt to decertify the union. It is illegal and the nlrb will be hearing from me. I urge all union members to call 844-762-6572 and lodge a complaint. Also please post on all websites and news sources how Rauner and his goons haven’t even waited for the ink to dry before launching their illegal and unethical attacks. If they can’t follow simple federal law, why would anyone think they will honor any other worker protections.

  18. - Snapper - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:00 pm:

    Anybody that thinks there won’t be a big drop off in Union membership, please see the game theory Prisoner’s Dilemma.

  19. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:14 pm:

    good luck on the en mass to desert the union lol

  20. - Sue - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:17 pm:

    Hey Silverspoon- good luck with the NLRB. You obviously are not very up to speed -the NLRB has no jurisdiction over public sector unions. Good grief

  21. - Sue - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:19 pm:

    AA- call up to the WEA and ask them what happened to their membership participation.

  22. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:20 pm:

    @AA sue can’t explain herself other than the fact that she apparently enjoys seeing billionaires take more money out of the pockets of your abaerage work who just happens to be employed by the state. These same billionaires just hate paying taxes and have the means to avoid or evade.

  23. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:27 pm:

    re headline….ya think? it is straight up designed to weaken unions. today is a dark day.

  24. - Texas Red - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:30 pm:

    Billionares = job creators
    Public Sector Unions = compelled a speech.

  25. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:36 pm:

    ===Billionares = job creators===

    Bruce Rauner has yet to claim any job he created.

    Not one.

  26. - Sue - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:41 pm:

    Most of you have it completely wrong. It’s the unions taking the money from the average person and spending it on projects of their choice.

  27. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 7:52 pm:


    Do you support non-union employees benefiting from union contracts after this decision?

  28. - Concerned Citizen - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 8:24 pm:


    Please provide any empirical evidence to support your opinion. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember when there was a larger middle class and unions were not portrayed as greedy entities, but when I was growing up, unions were far more prevalent, and, contrary to your opinion, “average” people were doing better when union membership was higher.

    If you don’t believe me, and don’t care to read studies, please take a look at the graph on this link. It clearly shows a correlation between middle class (“average” people) and unions.

    I hope all of you in the middle class can see that there is data supporting my, and many others, understanding of this matter.

    Best of luck.

  29. - Sue - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 9:04 pm:

    Wenscia - doesn’t matter whether I support or don’t. The union has a statutory duty to represent the entire BU. If the union doesn’t want to it’s free to walk away

  30. - Sue - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 9:09 pm:

    Concerned- yea and I remember gas at 39 cents a gallon too. The decline of unions in the private sector went along with the loss of manufacturing. Public sector unions are antagonistic to the average taxpayer. If they truly deliver god their members today’s decision won’t hurt. The likely outcome is folks will see their dues are used for purposes they don’t support and will welcome being free of mandatory dues requirements

  31. - Rabid - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 10:06 pm:

    I don’t care
    Do you

  32. - Me Again - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 10:47 pm:

    I think that Sue is really Bruce Rauner.

  33. - Anon - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 10:57 pm:

    The games theory model doesn’t account for the fact that a shirker of union dues may become a pariah amongst coworkers. Hope you don’t need to depend on anyone else and hope you like peer pressure.

  34. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Jun 27, 18 @ 11:08 pm:


    This ain’t Wisconsin.


  35. - Concerned Citizen - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 7:30 am:

    Any profession can have unions- just look at Germany. They currently have a much stronger middle class, the kind some of us remember in our country from when gas was 39 cents.

  36. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 8:04 am:

    ==I think that Sue is really Bruce Rauner.==

    No, but she is anti-public employee. So I guess that makes her similar.

  37. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 8:06 am:

    I thought the CMS e-mail went pretty close to pushing people into leaving the union. They are going to get themselves slapped with an unfair labor practice if they aren’t careful.

  38. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 8:21 am:

    I’m not good at predicting other people’s actions or motivations. If I was I’d be in Vegas. But it is obvious that if people already had the option to not pay dues they would have done so by now. The question is how many people paying fair share fees will keep paying them. As some commenters who pay fair share fees pointed out, they will keep paying them. Some people will stop. We will find out soon.

  39. - Downstate - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 8:50 am:

    How would you feel if a co-worker was receiving higher wages and benefits simply because they were giving their manager $50/month to bump up their compensation?

    That’s how I feel, when AFSME makes huge donations to the same politicians with which they are negotiating wages and benefits.

  40. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 8:55 am:


    That is perhaps one of the most silly arguments I’ve heard made on this topic. You’re suggesting that AFSCME dues are the equivalent of a kickback for higher wages? Give me a break.

  41. - Downstate - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 9:09 am:

    I’m suggesting that AFSME is donating money to the very people that are deciding what benefits the union members will receive.

    What is the push-back in negotiating with a public union? In the private sector, if a company doesn’t spend money wisely, it will go broke. Hence that is the counter-balance to union demands.
    What is the counter-balance in negotiating with a public sector union?

  42. - Reserved - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 9:13 am:

    We get it AFSCME you got hit hard, but now is the time to be smart, not petty. Here’s my unsolicited advice, come January you’re going to have a union friendly administration that will go back to the bargaining table with you. Just put something into the new agreement allowing workers to pay a voluntary fee for negotiation and grievance coverage. The Court only banned the statutory agency fee requirement, there is no contractual ban.

    You’ll lose some current fair share folks, and likely some members, so it’s not ideal, but something.

    I’m a fair share guy myself who just doesn’t like your politics, sorry to say it, but I haven’t liked the candidates you’ve supported or some of the legislation you have backed, think the bill you backed stripping the executive branch of their contract negotiation power “temporarily”, but I do agree I should pay for contract negotiations and enforcement. Think of it this way, you learn your dentist supports Rauner, you’re a good person so you pay her what you owe and have no complaints about the dental work, but you’re not going back. That’s how I feel with you guys, great job on the contract stuff, but I don’t like all of your political views.

  43. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 9:15 am:

    “Hence that is the counter-balance to union demands.”

    Rauner’s not trying to counterbalance, he’s trying to smash and kill. Rauner has probably cost the taxpayers more money singlehandedly than anyone else in state history. He’s horrible for finances.

  44. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 9:20 am:

    ==’m suggesting that AFSME is donating money to the very people that are deciding what benefits the union members will receive.==

    You’re suggesting that the donations are a kickback. As I said, that’s just silly.

    ==What is the push-back in negotiating with a public union? ==

    If you’re argument were true then there would be no negotiations.

    Again, your argument is silly

  45. - Jolly1 - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 9:22 am:

    Those dues you are paying sure makes for some nice salaries for the AFSCME 31 Staff.

  46. - Birdseed - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 9:27 am:

    === - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 9:20 am:

    You’re suggesting that the donations are a kickback. As I said, that’s just silly. ===

    No, he is suggesting that AFSCME uses dues collected to influence elections in order to ultimately gain support for their causes. Their main cause being to sweeten the contracts for public sector union members.

    Care to deny that?

  47. - Just sayin' - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 9:48 am:

    Unions in theory started out to be good organizations pushing for fair wages and working conditions for employees, but somewhere along the way they have became nothing more than organized crime syndicates. You pay for protection. If you’re in the right clique and you have an issue the union will back you and fight for you even if you are in the wrong. Our union local in this part of the state is a joke, misappropriating funds, mismanagement, protecting individuals who should not be protected, and blowing everyone else off. I have never asked for their help and I never will, but yes, I believe I do “deserve” to benefit from their contract negotiations. I do the same work and do my job probably better than most union dues-paying employees so I do not deserve to be paid less or receive lower benefits than someone else in the same position. Unless the union feels the salaries and benefits they are negotiating are unreasonably lavish, this should not even be an issue. If the union would clean administrative house and go back to their original intents and purpose they would have no problem retaining membership, but as I said before, all of the in-house politics, favoritism and mismanagement will be their downfall, not this supreme court ruling.

  48. - downstate hack - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    I really believe the average State worker will take this as a $500 to $900 a year raise and union membership will plummet by over 50%

  49. - Nick Name - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    ===No, he is suggesting that AFSCME uses dues collected to influence elections in order to ultimately gain support for their causes. Their main cause being to sweeten the contracts for public sector union members.

    Care to deny that?===

    Using dues or fair share fees for political activity is a violation of federal law. Union political activity is funded by *voluntary* contributions from members over and above their dues. You actually have to sign a special form authorizing the contribution.

    Get your facts right.

  50. - Nick Name - Thursday, Jun 28, 18 @ 10:33 am:

    ===Billionares = job creators===

    1. Bruce Rauner hasn’t created a single job.

    2. Consumers are job creators. Without consumers to purchase goods and services, no factory or other place of employment would ever be built.

  51. - Concerned Citizen - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    Correct: consuming creates jobs. Rauner, and many of his wealthy friends, would rather they pay 2% less in taxes (one billionaire donated tens of millions to Rauner, yet STILL came out ahead since Rauner’s lowering of IL income tax save that one individual more than tens of millions in taxes on his billions in income). There inlies the real problem. GDP, as well as IL’s share of GDP, has continued to rised steadily in the past 3 decades. That SHOULD equate to everyone’s share of income rising at a similar rate, at least enough to keep up with inflation.

    The reality is that only those of us lucky enough to be in a union have actually seen wages rise with inflation. Union employees have simply maintained the quality of life that we had 30 years ago. The REAL reason why many have not seen felt their share of income rise at the rate of inflation is NOT because of unions (who are NOT rich, and NOT poor), but because those who were rich 30 years ago decided to crush the unions and middle class and chip away as much of the middle class as we let them, so that THEIR millions could turn into billions at the expense of non-union employees, who haven’t seen THEIR share of the increased economic output.

    Unions are not the enemy. Union members aren’t flying private. Union members are holding on to the American dream of providing a roof over their family’s head, not 8 or 9 roofs- but 1. Union members aren’t asking for enough money to be rich. Maybe the working poor need to join the unions and start demanding their share of the pie that they helped bake, instead of joining the wealthy union bashing wealthy who haven’t given you a living wage in decades.

  52. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Jun 29, 18 @ 4:42 pm:

    Just Sayin’
    ==I have never asked for their help and I never will,==
    Then how do you know that your union will “blow you off”? I guess you will never know.

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