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Fun with numbers

Friday, Jun 14, 2019

* Greg Hinz

In a story first reported by Springfield TV reporter Mark Maxwell that I’ve confirmed with multiple sources, the contract for American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (commonly known as AFSCME) will run for eight years, replacing a deal that expired on July 1, 2015.

The wage hikes are relatively modest, with workers getting no hike at all for the four years that are already gone but having instead to settle for a bonus of up to $2,500 a worker that will not go into the salary base.

Raises will kick in starting July 1, with salaries to rise 11.5 percent across the board over four years. That’s on top of the raises for experience, or “step” increases, which will continue to be paid. […]

(W)orkers over the next four years will end up putting in $624 to $864 a year more [for health insurance], depending on family size—and $420 on top of that if they make more than $125,000 a year

That’s a really good point by Greg about how this contract covers eight years because the union hasn’t had a contract for the past four.

* I used the BLS inflation calculator to see what a union member making $50,000 a year as of July 1, 2015 would be making now if her wages had kept pace with inflation: $53,653.41, which would’ve been a 7.3 percent increase.

So, the $2,500 bonus (only for employees who’ve worked four solid years) won’t even cover inflation for that particular worker in one year, let alone four. And those who earn higher wages will lose out on even more.

Not to say this is a bad contract. At all. It’s pretty good. By my calculations, it works out to be about a 10.9 percent increase after higher insurance costs, which should put them a few points above CPI by the time this contract ends. However, those calculations don’t include step increases (which have been raised) and other contractual increases.

* And if you think union members should be paying more for insurance, keep this in mind

It is the first increase in premiums or out of pocket health costs in four years. Insurance costs were not increased during the contract standoff with Rauner. AFSCME said Rauner was seeking premium increases of 120 percent and other changes that would have put Illinois state health insurance benefits near the bottom of those in any state.

As with almost everything else, Rauner demanded the moon and got nothing for four years. Such a great negotiator. All he did was defer costs to the future, like the step increases he unlawfully refused to pay. Cleaning up after this guy’s hubris-fueled mess is gonna take a long while.

* Here’s another fun contract item

The Employer will establish email safeguards in an effort to prohibit outside organizations from using state email to spread anti-union messages.

That’s obviously aimed at the Illinois Policy Institute, which is not happy with this contract, even though it’s been trying to convince AFSCME members that the union is no good…



The union will also be allowed to conduct new employee orientations during workers’ first two weeks on the job.

* More importantly for workers, perhaps, is increasing maternity/paternity leave from the current four to ten weeks. If both parents work for the state, they can take that leave together or consecutively. And all of Gov. Rauner’s privatization demands were withdrawn by the Pritzker administration.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - Morty - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    It’s a fair deal. Certainly JB didn’t give away the farm as some people are claiming.

    These folks probably deserve more, but sadly, we can’t totally undo The Rauner years.

    Having these positions staffed by well-trained, motivated professionals will result in far better outcomes than privatized, poorly paid temps.


  2. - Inquiry - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    Can an outside group use state email to spread pro-union messages?


  3. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:23 pm:

    Morale is really good, after four years of Rauner waging a futile and destructive war. AFSCME members have prevailed over a vicious and ongoing attack by Rauner and the IPI, with its dues opt-out mail campaigns. It’s something to be very proud of and a historical lesson to future workers—the importance of solidarity and perseverance.

    At the time Rauner began his war, in 2015, his annual income more than tripled, to $188 million that year. He wanted to gut AFSCME and other unions and tried to force state workers to take terrible contract terms while he personally was having a great economic time, making $333 million in 2015-2017 (not yet counting his 2018 income) and being taxed at the same state income rate as those he attacked.

    State workers weren’t fooled by Rauner’s “Everyman” act or his LR chief’s email propaganda. They tried to fool state workers into thinking they were getting something good, as they tried to slash workers.


  4. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==Can an outside group use state email to spread pro-union messages?==
    I’m guessing no. It would be a privacy issue. And would prevent fishing attacks.


  5. - Honeybear - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    I am so grateful for this contract.
    so grateful
    JB Pritzker
    has reaffirmed what every great
    chief executive officer knows
    you treat your employees fairly.
    We have so much to do, to achieve, to maintain
    We have to rebuild the workforce
    regain the institutional wisdom lost by attrition
    do our best for our beloved state.
    We are finally moving forward again.
    “Haze grey and underway” as they say in the Navy.
    Those naysayers and negative folks at IPI
    are so upset
    because their lies about
    State Employees
    State Government
    State Legislators
    have been exposed
    We are a great state.
    We have great people
    We have great public servants
    And we can get things done
    to make things better

    This contract is an infusion of life into the helpers of this state


  6. - Perrid - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    Did IPI spread anti union stuff through email? I know they sent mailers out trying to get people to quit the union.

    Would the blasts from JT, John Terranova, be disallowed under this? I’m assuming no since he works/worked for CMS, and they were pretending they were “informing” workers when they were sending out those emails.


  7. - Honeybear - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    Perrid,
    The provision in the contract was a direct result of Terranova’s perfidy and propaganda. Also our personal information was given to IPI and affiliates.
    The new contract prohibits this.


  8. - lakeside - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    So glad to see this contract treat state employees like people. The parental leave is a step in the right direction (love to see a woman coming back after a c-section in 4 weeks…)


  9. - Me Again - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:42 pm:

    This stipend should also cover any current retirees who were working in the July 2015 through July 2018 period.


  10. - Glengarry - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    I received mailers from the IPI and I promptly threw in the trash, where anything from the IPI belongs.


  11. - MG85 - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 3:57 pm:

    ==the stipend should also cover any current retirees==

    Key word in your sentence is “should.” It doesn’t. Just like it doesn’t cover folks who were terminated, resigned, went to another Union other than AFSCME, MC, etc.

    And to be perfectly honest,

    Retirees got their backpay, pension adjustments, and have a pension that safe. Missing another $2500.00 isn’t any real skin off their teeth.


  12. - I Miss Bentohs - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 4:05 pm:

    One of my employees was a union paying member for many years and last year took a management (non-union) job. Get anything for the first three years?

    And to add to the irony in this case, the person sat across from Mark Janus for that time.


  13. - Steward As Well.... - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    Works for me. Now if only those bargaining unit non-members (many making very good salaries) quit gaming the system. Stand up and do what is right. (Like they don’t already know it.) Start paying for the representation that has provided this through hard work. Join the union and pay dues.


  14. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    Kudos to management and the union for getting this tentative contract quickly, so everyone can focus on other things that require attention. Rauner dragged out a war for four years. I don’t know who in her or his right mind would think it’s fiscally responsible to do what Rauner did.


  15. - MG85 - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    ==Start paying for the representation that has provided this through hard work. Join the union and pay dues.==

    It would burn me to no end to know that I paid Union dues for the last 5 years, stood ready to go on strike, knocked on doors to defeat Bruce Rauner, and then know I worked beside someone who didn’t do any of that yet got the same thing as me.

    I know the Union has to legally represent bargaining unit members regardless of membership status, but that doesn’t mean I have to be nice to that person, accept them, or even help them.

    If you don’t want to pay union dues then don’t take a union job.


  16. - Union Thug Gramma - Friday, Jun 14, 19 @ 4:14 pm:

    I’m retired now, but when I was working, we couldn’t use the state email to inform members of meetings (membership meetings), so, no no outside influence on our part…now, the union could email local management to set things up, but no other real use.


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