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One person’s “mandate relief” is another person’s “union busting”

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018

* Illinois News Network

Illinois taxpayers could save more than $3 billion a year from government consolidation and mandate relief, according to Gov. Bruce Rauner. […]

“The estimate was we’d save Illinois taxpayers $3.5 billion per year,” Rauner said. “$3.5 billion per year if we actually implemented the 27 recommendations our task force laid out.” […]

For consolidation, recommendations [by the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force] included, among others, a moratorium on creating new local governments, expand DuPage County’s pilot program to all 102 counties, allow township consolidations with coterminous municipalities, incentivize school district consolidation, and encourage sharing of public equipment, facilities and other resources regionally.

Mandates to be repealed, the report suggested, included prevailing wage laws, providing third-party contract mandate relief for school districts, making collective bargaining permissive rather than mandatory, eliminating minimum manning from collective bargaining, merging downstate and suburban public safety pension funds into a single fund, and others.

That report is here.

* Meanwhile, here’s a memo from AFSCME Council 31…

TO: All State Local Union Presidents

FR: Roberta Lynch, Executive Director
Mike Newman, Deputy Director

RE: Rauner Administration Tries to Strip Bargaining Rights from Hundreds of State Employees

In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus case, Bruce Rauner has launched an aggressive campaign to strip hundreds of state employees of their contractual rights by attempting to remove their positions from union bargaining units.

Within the past few weeks, the Department of Central Management Services (CMS) has filed over one hundred unit clarification petitions with the Illinois State Labor Relations Board to remove a broad array of positions from AFSCME bargaining units (as well as from the bargaining units of other unions representing state employees). We will shortly send you a list of all affected employees in your local union.

While these employees have been included in the bargaining unit, with full contractual rights, for many years, the Rauner Administration is suddenly alleging that their positions meet one or more of the statutory exclusion definitions under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (IPLRA).

This is a very deliberate attempt by the Administration to force these members out of the union and leave them without any guarantees regarding wages, health insurance costs, promotional opportunities, job security, or other essential rights.

Council 31 has sent a letter to all employees in the affected positions informing them of this attempt to strip them of their union rights (see attached sample letter).

The IPLRA is the law that provides collective bargaining rights to public employees in Illinois. It narrowly defines the supervisory, managerial and confidential standards that are the basis for exclusion from union representation. For example, under the Act working supervisors are eligible to be in the union and confidential employees are limited to those who have access to confidential labor relations information. AFSCME does not believe that any of the positions now targeted by CMS meet these standards for exclusion from the act.

When there is a dispute as to whether specific positions should be excluded from a bargaining unit, the Labor Board holds a fact finding hearing to make a determination as to eligibility. You can be assured that Council 31 will vigorously oppose this assault on members’ rights at the Labor Board. Our ability to successfully do so will depend on the affected employees providing the union with comprehensive information on their job duties. We may be contacting you for assistance in gathering such information.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Not It - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:19 pm:

    If a local government wants to pay higher than necessary for a project funded by taxpayer dollars, let them, but it shouldn’t be mandated by the State simply because the unions donate to DPI.

  2. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    “third party mandate relief” means dirty schools and poor quality food.

    Rauner is as phony as a $3 bill.

  3. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:35 pm:

    Has anyone proved that consolidation saves money? If you take five offices with ten people doing the work of fifty people or have one office with fifty people doing the work of fifty people how much have you saved? Zero.

  4. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:39 pm:

    ===If you take five offices with ten people doing the work of fifty people or have one office with fifty people doing the work of fifty people how much have you saved? Zero.===

    In Rauner’s utopia, forty of those people would lose their jobs in the consolidation leaving just ten people to do the work of fifty.

  5. - don the legend - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:40 pm:

    105 days until the election and Governor Not in Charge comes up with this laundry basket of ideas.
    And Governor Do Nothing could not explain how even one of them would work.

  6. - Perrid - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    Da Big Bad Wolf, that is blatantly untrue. Going from 5 offices, with all the overhead of rent and utilities and such, to one office would save money. And another, more debatable, point would be the assumption that each of the 50 people is already working at capacity, i.e. instead of having 50 people in 5 offices could you have 45 people working in 1? Instead of having 5 people answering phones, or 5 security guards, or 5 paper pushers, could you have 2 or 3? Now that has a lot of potential (likely) pitfalls that we could talk about all day, but that’s the argument.

    Having the discussion is always a good idea, I just wish Republicans did not act like they had the answer (which is to cut, cut, cut and dang the consequences) before they’ve even asked the question.

  7. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    Savin’ Illinois money by filing over a hundred frivilous clarification petitions. More like burning a bonfire with Illinois taxpayer money.

  8. - Stones - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    In my experience, Unit Clarification Petitions are usually filed by Mgmt to exclude certain “vital” members of the bargaining unit prior to a strike or some sort of work stoppage. I define the term “vital” as those employees whose job function is unique or vital to the operation of facility.

  9. - Occam - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    == “third party mandate relief” means dirty schools and poor quality food.==

    Our district outsourced janitorial and food services years ago. The cleanliness of the schools is no different than before. We spend less than half on janitorial services now than we did before.
    As to food service, our breakfast and lunch meal counts are up and our operating costs are down. We actually generate a net surplus in food service operations which help fund equipment upgrades.

  10. - Sue - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:47 pm:

    And our Illinois Unions again say how they work for the best interests of Illinois taxpayers. Here is hoping Janus within 12 months results in 30 percent declines in union dues

  11. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:50 pm:

    Perrid, one large office is less than five little offices? Maybe, or maybe not. If the cost of the offices is the issue one could move the offices to the skeevy part of town where rents are less. Or townships cpuld share an office.
    And why assume that people aren’t working at capacity. If that is the case has it been proven?

  12. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    A leopard can wiggle its tail, but it always has stripes.

  13. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:01 pm:

    No reason whatsoever to gouge middle class workers when people like Rauner make hundreds of millions of dollars in a few years and are taxed at state income tax rates lower than every neighboring state except Indiana.

  14. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    ==eliminating minimum manning from collective bargaining,==
    Oh, I thought freedom of speech for workers was paramount to this governor.

  15. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:13 pm:

    Um, leopards have stripes?
    I do not spot your logic.

  16. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:14 pm:

    ==Our district outsourced janitorial and food services years ago. The cleanliness of the schools is no different than before.==

    Can you refer them to Rahm and CPS?

  17. - Juice - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    Honest question. The report came out two and a half years ago. Of those 27 recommendations, how many have actually been introduced in the form of legislation by the administration?

    The report itself does not include a breakdown of savings, but how much of that is from cutting special education? (That’s a big cost). How much is from relief that is highlighted in the report but is out of the State’s control, such as compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act? And how much comes from the locals just wanting the state to pick up more of the tab? (probation officers, for instance.)

  18. - LOL - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:24 pm:

    Sue - I’m Union. I’m a tax payer. The public would love to get my professional services 24/7 without paying me, right? The public doesn’t want to pay any taxes, right? I want fair compensation for my services. What you think is fair and what I think is fair is a matter for debate I’m sure. I understand you don’t like it that a strong union prevents my wages and benefits from being slashed. You should understand I want someone to look out for me and my family. The one good thing Sue … Janus has started a groundswell of new union membership like nothing public service unions have seen before. Employees understand they are under assault and Janus has brought a flood of new members. Your hopes won’t be realized Sue. Keep up the assault. It’s the best thing to happen to public service unions in half a decade.

  19. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    Let me know when Lake Bluff and Lake Forest sign up to consolidate all their public services with North Chicago and Waukegan.

  20. - Deadbeat Conservative - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    Why hasn’t the Governeor been able to save IL taxpayers money for state operations directly under his control?

    Issues like contractual purchases, interest costs on debt, management of federal reimbursements, and state agency management and efficacy have all been problematic under Rauner. - No legislation required.
    He promised $3 billion in annual savings in these areas years ago campaign.

  21. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    ==Our district outsourced janitorial and food services years ago. The cleanliness of the schools is no different than before.==

    What district?

  22. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:50 pm:

    Prevailing wage and collective bargaining rights are not going away. Are we really back to wasting breath on those ideas?

    And Sue, the goal of those ideas is to lower wages and take away benefits. It’s just sad that so many are so giddy about such things.

  23. - Publius - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    Why is the gop answer alway, cut the little guys pay. If all your customers, neighbors and friends make less so will you.

  24. - TKMH - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 4:09 pm:

    @Da Big Bad Wolf:,amp.html

  25. - Suburban Mom - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    There are definitely some school functions that can be consolidated and result in a cost savings, typically as a result of less management. If you have five tiny districts, they each have a buildings & grounds manager. If you consolidate them, you can have one manager (and let’s give him an assistant manager since he has more to oversee now). You need the same number of janitors, but you’ve saved three salaries worth of management.

    Another big savings from consolidating schools comes from the ability to do specialized functions in-house — larger districts with 20+ schools tend to have a full-time plumber on staff, a steamfitter who can do all the work on the boilers, and so on, and save money both by not having to hire that out (and pay retail hourly prices), and by being able to do a lot more preventive maintenance before things become catastrophes. In another example, every district in Illinois bills Medicaid for medical services rendered during the school day to students with profound diabilities. Medicaid billing is complicated; most districts have to hire a specialty service to manage it. Larger districts can have an in-house Medicaid billing office at considerable savings. Some downstate urban districts — Peoria was one, not sure if they still are — actually run Medicaid billing at a profit, because other nearby suburban and rural districts hire the urban district to do their Medicaid billing. It’s cheaper for the outlying districts than hiring a commercial service (although more expensive than running their own billing).

    Having lived a long time downstate, I actually do think it’s important to keep small-town schools open and I understand why rural districts fear consolidation, because it’s often the first step on the road to the town disappearing completely. But I think there are creative ways to handle this that we should experiment with. For example, small elementary schools could use a Head Teacher model instead of having a full-time principal, with a teacher who teaches half-time and the other half of her time is responsible for on-site discipline, building management, arranging subs, etc. One principal could oversee several elementary schools that way — or could be cut out entirely with the Head Teacher reporting directly to the Superintendent. There are also ways that districts could consolidate business functions without politically consolidating the districts themselves, which could enable some of those cost savings that larger districts can take advantage of without losing local control of decisions. It’d be a big change in how school boards have to work, but I’m confident enough in the advantages of such a system and in the desire of small towns to keep their schools local that I believe it could be done.

  26. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 4:21 pm:

    Psa management should NEVER have went into the union to begin with

  27. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 4:27 pm:

    Back to the original messaging. Justifies more buzzword ads. Analysis? Implementation? Support? Details. Details.

  28. - Truthteller - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 4:38 pm:

    I thought Rauner said he believed employees should have the right to choose whether they want to be represented by a union or not. Seems as though by attempting to exclude positions from collective bargaining rather than allowing them to choose, Rauner wants to make the choice for them.

  29. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 4:45 pm:

    ==Janus has started a groundswell of new union membership like nothing public service unions have seen before.==

    True, but to maintain current revenues, the union has to sign-up 4 previous fair share dues payers for every one that drops. Even if the union converts 9 out of 10, it’s maybe a 1% revenue increase. So a groundswell could just be breaking even, from a revenue perspective.

    ==Employees understand they are under assault==

    No doubt, but if/when JB wins, I wonder if it will lead more people to drop post-election, as-if the worst is behind them.

    I think we’re a few years away from seeing the true impact.

  30. - Ike - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 4:47 pm:

    Sue - rauner could have saved the state billions by passing a budget, but he didn’t. Don’t see you saying anything about that.

  31. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 5:45 pm:

    Thanks for the story TKMH. So roughly a third of the money Evanston saved was keeping Chicago freeloaders from accessing Evanston services. And then,about half the money saved was from laying off people now that Chicagoans were not using Evanston services. So 5/6 of the money saved was from giving Chicagoans the boot.
    Is this a statewide issue? Townships providing services for people not paying into them? Maybe that is the issue that needs to be addressed, rather than consolidation.

  32. - Union Thug Gramma - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 5:50 pm:

    Not IT: “If a local government wants to pay higher than necessary for a project funded by taxpayer dollars, let them, but it shouldn’t be mandated by the State simply because the unions donate to DPI.”
    Really? Prevailing wage means that all workers are paid the same for the skills they have. It gives those workers a better life, it gives us a better tax base to pay for those luxuries of paved roads. And in a state that acknowledges Prevailing Wage, all workers make more. Illinois’ issues really isn’t what people are paid, it’s how we are taxed…flat tax is recessive.

  33. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 6:01 pm:

    I’m skeptical of the great savings of consolidation, I think it’s a lot of hot air, and is just cover for saying let’s fire people, but I could be wrong.

    The numbers could prove me wrong. If it turns out consolidation is great, then why not just make the whole metro area, Winnetka, Arlington Heights, Burr Ridge, the whole enchilada, Chicago. Think of the money we could save.

  34. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 6:35 pm:

    ==So a groundswell could just be breaking even, from a revenue perspective.==
    A union isn’t like a corporation. It’s about collective bargaining, not about making a profit for shareholders.

    ==No doubt, but if/when JB wins, I wonder if it will lead more people to drop post-election, as-if the worst is behind them.==
    I wish that was true. I think the worst is ahead of us, based on who is in the Supreme Court and the White House.

  35. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 6:40 pm:

    Suburban Mom is on to something. School districts already cooperate on special education, why not administrative functions? Schools can get creative with cost savings measures without necessarily having to consolidate. If it requires a change in state law, introduce a bill & get it done. Not only can it save money but it can help smaller districts operate more efficiently by promoting specialization of duties.

  36. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 8:02 pm:

    ==A union isn’t like a corporation. It’s about collective bargaining, not about making a profit for shareholders.==

    If that’s the case, why doesn’t the union reduce full member dues to be what the fair share amount was?

    Unions are more like corporations than you think. Just review any union financial statement to see what I mean. Unions have thrown more money into my local rep elections than all the Fortune 500 companies combined. To poorly paraphrase, if you look around your election and you can’t tell who the corporation is, it’s you.

  37. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 9:37 pm:

    City Zen- show your work. What is your local rep election?

  38. - Ferris Bueller - Tuesday, Jul 24, 18 @ 11:58 pm:

    Receiving this letter freaked me out. Not only have I not moved steps in years and I’m making signifintly less money than I should be (with no actually relief in sight) if my very non-managerial position is removed form the union I’m certain I won’t be offered a salary equal or greater to the step I should be in. In typical afscme fashion though, there is no plan laid out or any way for us to do anything to help (let’s face it, afscme doesn’t know what I do in my job everyday).

  39. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Jul 25, 18 @ 5:35 am:

    Ferris Bueller, I’m guessing this an attempt to harass more than anything else. You have been doing the job for years and NOW it’s a problem? Stay strong.

  40. - cc - Wednesday, Jul 25, 18 @ 8:27 pm:

    When a Norovirus hits 75% of schools in a county and/or a district and everyone of those school is sharing a pool of non-union janitors with no ties to your school, who you gonna call?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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