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Teamsters leader lashes out at Pritzker over contract talks

Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019

* From 2015

The Rauner administration said Monday it has reached tentative or final agreements on new labor contracts with five groups of Teamsters units representing about 4,600 workers statewide.

The announcement comes as the Illinois House prepares to return to Springfield on Wednesday and possibly vote on overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1229. The bill, pushed by Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, would place contract talks in the hands of an independent arbitrator in the event an agreement cannot be reached at the bargaining table.

The Rauner administration has previously used settlements with Teamsters locals as evidence that it bargains in good faith and can reach contract settlements with unions representing public employees.

* From that 2015 Teamsters contract

Maintenance of the current level of health care benefits for employees and their dependents as part of the State’s continued contributions to the independent Teamsters Local 727 Health & Welfare Fund.

That was supposed to be paid for with a four-year wage freeze. What Rauner did was provide lots of state money to move Teamsters union members out of the state health insurance fund, which he was trying to kill off or at least hobble. Costs have since climbed even higher.

* From AFSCME’s new contract

Employee premiums and out-of-pocket costs in the state group health insurance plan will increase. Although specific employee contributions vary by type of health plan and salary levels, premiums will go up each January by a composite $13 per month for individuals and $18 per month for families.

* Yesterday

* From a Pritzker spokesperson…

The administration is committed to negotiating contracts that are fair to workers who serve the state and taxpayers, and we are committed to working through issues in this contract at the bargaining table.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

47 Comments »
  1. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    I would assume that Sen. Thomas E. Cullerton will be their point man on this.


  2. - Maximus - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    The letter refers to “massive cuts to healthcare benefits”. Do we know what those cuts are? Is the union exagerating in this scenario?


  3. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Can and should Pritzker restore step freezes if the Teamsters agreed to them under the Rauner contract? They ratified the contract. AFSCME got the worst terms—massive healthcare cost hikes and step freezes. AFSCME of course rejected those terms.


  4. - IDOT Employee - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Why the Administration wants to take away the one and only selling point to work for IDOT I will never understand. Unlike AFSCME employees, we do not get step increases. There is no seniority or preference for current employees in filling vacancies. We don’t pay competitive salaries for engineers. What has made them so hostile to the Teamsters?


  5. - IDOT Employee - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    Can and should Pritzker restore step freezes if the Teamsters agreed to them under the Rauner contract?

    IDOT employees have never received regular step increases. Adjusting steps would benefit employees who get a promotion and help make wages more competitive.

    And we were told the Administration wants to force us back into the state’s healthcare plan. That would be a few thousand dollars out of my paycheck with no raises to help make up for it.


  6. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    ===the Administration wants to force us back into the state’s healthcare plan===

    Isn’t that where state employees belong? I mean, why should the state pay for a union health insurance plan that, from what I can tell, is on some fiscally shaky ground?


  7. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    Rauner wanted to single out AFSCME and decimate state healthcare. So he did a deal with teamsters to have IDOT employees switch to Teamsters healthcare which was premium free with no copays so they’d stay out of his fight with AFSCME with the state paying teamsters the health cost equivalent. Now their crying foul after their corrupt bargain with Rauner. Boo hoo.


  8. - Sue - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:10 pm:

    The Teamsters have more people under criminal investigation or indictment then the Illinois legislature does. Ain’t the Democrats great or what


  9. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    Now this was a while ago but I seem to remember the Teamsters settling early with Rauner, a fact that was used to pummel AFSCME. I also seem to remember huge bonuses going out to all the IDOT Teamsters.
    I remember printing off the list of recipients.
    Honestly I don’t know what is going on.
    I just know I, as an AFSCME felt undercut by the Teamsters. I felt like the Teamsters took Rauners money and looked the other way. I remember what the former Teamster leader Coli did on the ILRB in horrendously voting for “impasse”.
    Just my feeling and mine alone to own.
    I felt like the Teamster leadership were Rauner colaborators. Maybe I’m wrong. But remember feelings are never wrong. They are the sole property of the person who feels them.
    I’m feeling just a little schadenfreude
    at the Teamsters plight.
    But honestly, I can’t remember if the Teamsters were there at the protest of the 10,000. Maybe they were, I don’t remember.

    And…I do hope all the workers get a good deal through negotiation. Just being emotionally honest about it.


  10. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    “after their corrupt bargain with Rauner“

    I see what you did there.


  11. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    the Administration wants to force us back into the state’s healthcare plan

    Which I don’t think is that bad of a plan. Mine isn’t at least.


  12. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:18 pm:

    Okay, so I want to amend my comments.
    I have a problem with Teamster Leadership.
    Not my fellow frontline union workers. I hope they don’t get screwed. Sometimes leadership can be heavy handed and top down. Not all are like this but sometimes the frontrankers get trod upon by both sides. My solidarity is with the frontline worker. I hope they get a fair deal.


  13. - Perrid - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    Honeybear, the state’s health insurance is great, but evidently the teamsters current plan has no premiums or copays. So the state’s fairly cheap (to the employees) and incredibly good health insurance loses out to the completely free health insurance they have now.

    Cry me a river.


  14. - Illinois Watcher - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    Aren’t we missing something here? I’m quite certain this that I’m order to be a highway maintainer, you’ve got to be a military veteran. So why is the state refusing to bargain with our hero’s. I know I am more than happy to pay these guys for their service out of respect for the dangerous job they do and the sacrifice they made for us.Especially if you consider the gravy contract he gave AFSCME!


  15. - Former Candidate on the Ballot - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    Hat Tip to Donnie Elgin!

    Maybe they were getting $275K worth of value from Tom Cullerton /s


  16. - Evanstonian - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:42 pm:

    Pritzker’s plan to bust union solidarity is way more effective than Rauner’s.


  17. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:45 pm:

    == Unlike AFSCME employees, we do not get step increases. There is no seniority or preference for current employees in filling vacancies. ==

    That sounds pretty unfair. If employees don’t get any raises or preference in hiring for promotions, this is JB demanding a de-facto pay cut. We all would have spent several days bashing Rauner for proposing something like this.


  18. - nicky - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:45 pm:

    the teamsters took the better insurance in lieu of any raises. if we lose the healthcare, we will have lost 4 years of raises never to be reinstated, never to be included in future pension calculations.

    Not everyone received a bonus. only about half of the teamsters. It was not part of a base salary so they would never be included in any pension calculations.


  19. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    Are these the same Teamsters who caved early to Rauner, and who let themselves by used as propaganda by Rauner to paint AFSCME as evil incarnate?

    Cry me a river. AFSCME stood fast. It was painful, but worth it. Watch and learn, Teamsters.


  20. - beverly - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    I don’t know why pritzker would want to fight this battle now with the new capitol plan implementation on the horizon - the pro tech teamsters are key to delivering the capitol program.

    There are too many frontline teamsters ready for retirement and are waiting for the details of the contract. If the new contract results in less money in their pocket, they will just retire, collect their pension and 3% cola, free healthcare no state tax


  21. - FairisFair - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    Comparing Teamsters to AFSCME is like comparing apples to oranges. AFSCME has 70k+ members working for the state. The Teamsters have maybe 8k. AFSCME has transfer rights, promotions and jot to mention are consider state employees under CMS when applying for jobs. Teamsters currently have no transfer rights, no promotions and are not considered state employees under CMS. If an IDOT Teamster were to walk into CMS to apply for a job, they are considered as someone who walks off the street. An IDOT Teamster could have 20 years with the State, apply for a job outside of IDOT and their time of service would not matter. They would be placed on a list per the grade, not like AFSCME who have rights to state positions first, posted under CMS. IDOT merit bonus was a joke, considering senior staff gave higher scores to staff they liked and others gave lower scores based on poor performance and were told to change them by senior staff. Some senior staff retiring gave whole departments 100% as a parting gift not based on their performance but just to say thanks. Only the top 50% of employees received the merit bonus. It was a joke.


  22. - Steve Polite - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:04 pm:

    Nicky,

    With respect isn’t that the risk members take when ratifying a 4 year contract with free health insurance and wage freezes? There’s no guarantee the health insurance benefits would continue.


  23. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    I’m quite certain this that I’m order to be a highway maintainer, you’ve got to be a military veteran.

    ahh no, I don’t think that is correct. Veterans do get hiring preference as with all state positions. So maybe there has always been a veteran in the candidate pool


  24. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    == I don’t know why pritzker would want to fight this battle now ==

    Good point, not a good idea to infuriate the people doing the implementation. And isn’t the Pritzker admin supposedly more union friendly than Rauner’s? Plus IDOT is swimming in cash now that their funds can’t be raided for GRF. If they want to move everyone over to state health insurance OK, but it’s pretty disingenuous to do so without adding steps or promotion preferences and still call yourself a champion for union members. That’s a forced pay cut, plain and simple


  25. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    yes the teamsters also got $3000 and $1500 bonuses every year. It was good insurance(teamsters welfare fund). never paid one cent for 3 years.not one dime


  26. - RNUG - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:21 pm:

    == they will just retire, collect their pension and 3% cola, free healthcare no state tax ==

    It is only premium free health insurance for the IDOT (SERS) retiree if they have 20 years of service (which most will have).

    They still have to pay co-pays and deductibles, which vary a bit depending on the choice of Medicare Advantage plan chosen (for those over age 65) or PPO / HMO (for those under 66).

    So health insurance in retirement isn’t quite as good as the deal the Teamsters have at the moment.

    Additionally, in all cases, there is a premium for any dependents, plus co-pays and deductibles.

    As noted above by others, the State insurance is a really good deal in the current healthcare environment. People complaining about $50 - $150 monthly premiums need to do some comparison shopping in the private workplace. In a lot of places, they could be paying $500 - $800 a month for equivalent employer sponsored health insurance.


  27. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    “IDOT merit bonus was a joke“

    It sure is or was, if it’s anything like Rauner’s AFSCME proposal—merit pay for unknown “exceptional performance” requirements that would be guaranteed to only a 25% minimum of those doing merit work. Rauner had no performance criteria and wanted to create those later, after contract ratification. It’s like going to a store and the owner says you can’t see the product until after you buy it.


  28. - Illinois Watcher - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    Honey bear,
    Actually it is correct. Highway maintainer positions are filled much differently than regular state jobs. They use this job to recruit military veterans back to Illinois knowing they will always have a job to get. That being said, it is considered absolute veterans preference. However, Rauner changed that a bit in 2015 to allow for a non veteran to be given the job if the veterans list is exhausted. That situation happened one time in 2015. Therefore, this bargaining unit mentioned above (highway maintainer) is literally all military veterans except for one person. The pro tech teamsters, however, are not.


  29. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 4:43 pm:

    “People complaining about $50 - $150 monthly premiums need to do some comparison shopping in the private workplace.“

    The IPI tells people that public sector benefits have to be reduced to be like the private sector. AFSCME and other unions need to do the reverse, tell private sector workers to fight for better benefits and unionize—upward pressure for gains instead of downward pressure to lower gains. The US has the worst income disparity of all leading economic countries.


  30. - Anonanonsir - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 7:35 pm:

    ==AFSCME and other unions need to do the reverse, tell private sector workers to fight for better benefits and unionize==
    Yeah OK, that’s what private-sector workers have been lacking: a lecture from politically-favored public-sector unions about how to behave. Workers just need to “fight back” against their employers, because Amazon, Walmart and the rest are ready and willing to grant their wishes.


  31. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 7:52 pm:

    I think JB should give the Teamsters everything they are asking for and more. We are going to have billions in extra revenue laying around after the ‘Fair Tax’ Passes.


  32. - Nick - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 7:57 pm:

    There a lot who will see a $400 per month increase


  33. - Too much - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 8:35 pm:

    Where is Demoralized, OW, and Honeybear to scold the jealous, the “race to the bottom” types, the “my benefits are good why should you get better than me” people? Oh wait. They’re here scolding the Teamsters for trying to maintain their healthcare which is the single thing they have better than AFSCME. Telling.


  34. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 8:40 pm:

    === Where is…OW… They’re here scolding the Teamsters for trying to maintain their healthcare which is the single thing they have better than AFSCME. Telling.===

    Narrator: “Oswego Willy” didn’t comment on this post at all.

    Do I owe rent living in your head? Leaving there rent free has been fun.


  35. - Too much - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 8:43 pm:

    Literally said above by the regulars “boo hoo” and “cry me a river”. Anyone saying much less about AFSCME and their ridiculous demands like overtime after 37 hours vs Rauner got attacked by you and your friends to no end. Your silence is deafening.


  36. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 8:46 pm:

    === regulars===

    Not me. Read.

    === Your silence is deafening.===

    It’s not though. Only in your head is it deafening.


  37. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 9:14 pm:

    Someone needs to go to bed already


  38. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 9:31 pm:

    1.) The Teamsters bailed on solidarity. They weren’t the only ones.

    2.) The Teamsters negotiated the contract they’ve got.

    3.) AFSCME negotiated the contract they got.

    4.) AFSCME fought tooth and nail against a continuous effort to crush their state bargaining unit and it was expensive.

    5.) The idea that the Teamsters should get what AFSCME got just because AFSCME got it is absurd. They want the raises that AFSCME got that made up for a lack of across the board salary increases from 2014 through 2020.

    6.) Ya got healthcare. If you have to give up the healthcare, ask for bigger raises.

    7.) Teamsters want bid rights on AFSCME jobs? Okay. Where are the bid rights for AFSCME on Teamster jobs?


  39. - Oldtimer - Wednesday, Nov 6, 19 @ 10:23 pm:

    Who has “me too” provisions in their contract?


  40. - nick - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 6:47 am:

    candy

    per your no. 5

    the current afscme contract has a clause in it that states that if the teamsters get a better raise - they get it too.

    Afscme has basically tied the teamsters hands for what they can ask for.

    so much for fellow brothers and sisters.


  41. - boo - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 6:50 am:

    I will just say that i have been a state employee for almost 30 years and this idea that democrats are pro union and pro middle class working man is false

    I have been thrown under the bus both as a union member and a merit comp member by a democrat administration more than any other


  42. - union proud - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 6:51 am:

    Other unions me too’d us for years. Then a union sold us out so the presidents brother could sit on the ILRB. Those of us who knew Teamsters were begging them not to vote yes on the deal. But they did. Which Rauner took and ran to the GA to prove just how darn reasonable he was. Then he declared impasse. J.B. hasn’t declared impasse. Which means they are still bargaining. Employer always goes to one end. Then they see your power and you talk it out. Let the process work.


  43. - Boo - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 7:47 am:

    I’ve also thought over the years that’s it’s bs that afscme uses the health ins as part of their personal horse trading and then the rest of the state is stuck with the ins afscme negotiated
    Then add the additional hamstring clauses

    Other u ions Not just teamsters. Should be allowed to offer their own health ins plan that’s meets their members needs coupled with theI’d respective contract


  44. - Just Saying - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 8:47 am:

    Let’s not forget the FREE college tuition too. Many members got $10,000 checks to cover kids tuition; all paid by the extra state money Rauner gave Teamsters.


  45. - Kippax Blue - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 8:59 am:

    it appears the teamsters are trying to manage healthcare like they manage the Central States pension fund.


  46. - MG85 - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 9:04 am:

    ==I just know I, as an AFSCME felt undercut by the Teamsters. I felt like the Teamsters took Rauners money and looked the other way. I remember what the former Teamster leader Coli did on the ILRB in horrendously voting for “impasse”.==

    Amen Honeybear. The Teamster leadership is now trying to sell to their membership on 2 bad deals, but they are trying to hold the wrong party accountable…the Pritzker Administration. Pritzker didn’t force the Teamsters to take Rauner’s bad deal, but now the Teamsters want Pritzker to bail them out of their poor decision making while IDOT Teamsters see their AFSCME counterparts reap the benefits of standing and fighting.

    No cake and eating it too Teamsters.


  47. - Skeptic - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 9:23 am:

    Remember all the folks dissing on AFSCME for not accepting a “Substantially similar” contract offer? Contracts have consequences, but I hope this gets resolved.


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