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REPOSTED: This just in…

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[Reposted, bumped up and opened to non-subscribers because I originally published this late yesterday and it might’ve been overlooked, and AFSCME has just issued a press release about the lawsuit.]

* As I told you last week, AFSCME was preparing to file suit in St. Clair County to force the government to keep paying state employees in the event there is no appropriations authorty. The union filed the suit this afternoon. Read it by clicking here.

* There’s also a bit of a conflict between the comptroller’s office and the governor’s administration. Comptroller Hynes wants the administration to certify individuals who qualify under a federal law for basic minimum wage in case there is no other avenue to pay them. Read the comptroller’s letter by clicking here.

The reason the administration has balked is the legal consequence of making a mistake. From AFSCME…

…we communicated in the strongest terms possible in a letter to CMS today that certifying such payrolls on the basis of job titles only is not supported by law, and pointing out that anyone so certifying a false payroll is personally liable – upon penalty of discharge from office for an elected official and termination of employment for an employee.


* And here’s Tuesday morning’s press release…

AFSCME sues to ensure state employees are paid on time, in full
Union goes to court as state budget crisis jeopardizes paydays

The largest union of state employees has filed suit to compel the state of Illinois and comptroller Dan Hynes to pay union members and all state workers on time and in full even if no state operating budget is approved for the new fiscal year that began July 1.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31, which represents some 40,000 frontline state workers, filed the suit late Monday in St. Clair County circuit court.

“It’s unfortunate that elected officials have yet to agree on a responsible state budget. Even so, AFSCME members and all state employees continue to provide the vital services that Illinois residents rely on,” the union’s executive director Henry Bayer said. “No matter what happens at the Capitol, the state of Illinois is obligated under the law to pay its employees for their work, in full and on time. Our union will use every tool available to make sure that it does.”

AFSCME filed a similar suit during the state budget crisis of August 2007, obtaining a court order that compelled then-Governor Blagojevich and Comptroller Hynes to meet the state’s scheduled payroll in full.

posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:10 am


  1. Just wondering here, and Steve is probably the authority, but if there is no appropriation supported by a public act number, how does anyone certify they have legal authority to make an expenditure…from what funds? Lapse; I don’t think so. Steve, is this a ruse?

    Comment by Commonsense in Illinois Monday, Jul 13, 09 @ 9:13 pm

  2. Rich, did you talk to Dan Hynes while taping Chicago Tonight? I was wondering how he felt about you calling him boring.

    Comment by Been There Monday, Jul 13, 09 @ 9:23 pm

  3. Commonsense, AA agrees. I wouldn’t like to be on the horns of that dilemma; not sign and no one gets paid, or sign what is arguably a “knowingly false” certification.

    Payday Loans, anyone?

    Hynes never running for office again?

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Monday, Jul 13, 09 @ 9:47 pm

  4. – …and pointing out that anyone so certifying a false payroll is personally liable – upon penalty of discharge from office for an elected official and termination of employment for an employee.–

    Where do they get this stuff as it relates to elected officials? Discharge? By whom and how?

    Comment by wordslinger Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:22 am

  5. Go AFSCME!

    The only way to inch forward these days is to be an incredibly squeaky wheel.

    Comment by Macbeth Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:28 am

  6. Why St. Clair County? What does AFSCME know or suspect that makes this forum it’s first choice?

    Comment by Cousin Ralph Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:33 am

  7. This seems to be another example of mismanagement by our babe in the government woods accidental governor.

    If the state wants to cut unionized personnel, the state has to either obtain voluntary concessions or follow the contract with respect to reductions in force. Quinn hasn’t made much of an effort to obtain voluntary concessions, and, when the union rejected his initial overtures, he didn’t follow through. He seems to have started some kind of layoff process, quite late, but given recent history, who knows if he’ll follow through. And it’s not clear that he will lay off any management personnel at all, especially non-union management, many of whom likely were appointed by Blagojevich and probably have Chicago Machine clout. Quinn’s whole approach to staffing has been extraordinarily inept for someone who has spend his working life in and around state government. Didn’t he pay any attention?

    Corruption is bad but incompetence and procrastination can have bad consequences too.

    I believe California tried that minimum wage approach, by the way, but I’m not sure how it came out. California state workers are, I believe, taking three furlough days a month as a result of the failure of recent state budget negotiations.

    Comment by Anonymous Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:35 am

  8. This is a necessary step forced upon the union by a government lead by public officials they endorsed.

    If AFSCME officials consider how they helped empower the people they are now filing against, perhaps they will be more willing to look outside the Democratic Party for a change.

    Comment by VanillaMan Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:47 am

  9. –”Didn’t he pay any attention”?–

    Is ‘he’ paying any attention yet? My agency has lost/is losing 3 just in the last couple weeks due to resign or retirement? Roughly $300,000 , does pay for 6 to 8 frontliners. Does this mean the headcount in proposed lay-offs drop, or still must lose x amount of headcount? Is this about ‘headcount’ or budget savings?

    Comment by Cindy Lou (formerly Princess) Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:48 am

  10. I am reminded of the old Star Trek TV show where the crew gave the androids an impossible task and they shivered, shook and blew smoke out of their ears before shuddering to a sudden stop with all systems blown. PQ appears to be reaching the shudder/smoke/shut down phase. THe impossible task(s) of laying off his beloved union state employees (I am one of them) while retaining their support as well as not addressing the fumigation issue with the clout heavy employees whose benefactors can make PQ’s life a living hell.

    I wonder if PQ smokes before or after getting s@&#^&d?

    Comment by dupage dan Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:01 am

  11. Good for AFSCME! Really, do they have any other choice while dealing with a government that would allow state service providers to work without pay?

    Comment by Undercover Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:14 am

  12. Thank you AFSCME. Very grateful for some sanity and support while working for this illegal and dysfunctional state employer. I wonder what Vermont is like, sounds like Paradise…progressive tax…taxing fairly…

    Comment by state employee Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:18 am

  13. Those that seem to post negatively about state employees just remember, if it does get to layoffs and facility closures/consolidations, and no pay/reduced pay, what used to take you x amount of time to do, plan for more time.

    I know there is waste in govt. But it can’t all be put on the backs of the employees. And remember, some of those “savings” will go right back to the laid off union and fired contractual employees that need govt assisstance.

    Comment by Concerned Voter Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:20 am

  14. @Ralph,

    Hmmmm… I wonder.

    Comment by anon Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:30 am

  15. Revenue issues plague all forms of employment. My heart goes out to the private sector works and public sector workers equally.

    Until the economy reverses itself, there will have to be fewer workers in all sectors. It is unreasonable to expect public sector workers to be treated more preferentiallytrhan those in the private sector.

    Comment by Plutocrat03 Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:42 am

  16. Budget or no budget, Federal employment law trumps lack of a State budget - its the 21st Century in Illinois, not the 1950s in the Jim Crow South. Now, the trick is whether Federal law mandates full payment or minimum wage (which is what Arnold got State courts to rule).

    Comment by It's obvious Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:43 am

  17. –”It is unreasonable to expect public sector workers to be treated more preferentiallytrhan those in the private sector”–

    But does the private sector prefer to make their layoff decisions on headline grabbing public opinion symbolic gesture/perception, or do they prefer to make such decisions along solid budgetary and abilty to function lines?

    Comment by Cindy Lou (formerly Princess) Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 12:00 pm

  18. Will AFSCME be before a judge today? If not, how will checks go out tomorrow?

    Comment by Desert Dweller Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 12:01 pm

  19. word, that’s the statutory citation verbatim iirc. Agree that implementation is problematic to say the least.

    I’ve lost respect for Hynes due to his untimely, ham-fisted attempts to weigh in on the budget while statutory functions of his office have been neglected. His cemetery oversight plan is another example of too little, too late.

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 12:20 pm

  20. Thanks for linking the AFCSME lawsuit. Will you link the response when it is filed? I’m expecting it to say, in essence: We have no obligation to pay the union employees, VTY Lisa Madigan, AG

    Comment by james Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 1:10 pm

  21. I don’t see how paychecks CAN possibly go out tomorrow for any post-June 30 payrolls, even if AFSCME gets a favorable court decision in the next 5 minutes. We are going to be at least one day late for sure. Could the Comptroller authorize direct deposit payments for tomorrow at this point?

    Also, the last time this happened in ‘07, I seem to remember that AFSCME went to court farther ahead of time — on Aug. 10 or 11, to insure that the Aug. 15 paychecks were issued. What took ‘em so long this time?

    Comment by Secret Square Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 2:44 pm

  22. Crazy bad lawsuit. If the state has no money, it can’t issue good checks, regardless of what some judge says. What is the politically-appointed judge going to do: hold the legislators and the Governor in jail until they vote a tax increase? If he/she orders the employees paid, the money would then have to come out of the funds for the social service contract workers. They should be screaming out against this lawsuit.

    Comment by Legaleagle Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 2:51 pm

  23. I thought the union contract stated that AFSCME employees must be paid. Unions need to get over blindly supporting Democrat politicians and split their support with those from both parties who do the work of the people. The old ways of doing business and having politicians do your bidding if you supported them is a thing of the past. Many of them would sell their own mothers to get reelected.

    Comment by Celt Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 4:27 pm

  24. Plutocrat03 nailed it the economy s**ks but why should public sector employees belive once hired they are there for life, how many construction tradespeople won’t work a lick this year?

    Comment by memsaab Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 4:41 pm

  25. IDOT & Illinois Tollway workers rejoice, you’ll be able to keep your BMW’s.

    Comment by Nine Lives Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 7:26 pm

  26. Construction is seasonal.

    Comment by Emily Booth Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 10:33 pm

  27. Not sure how all this works, but I got paid for the month of June. It may be because my bill was for a time period before July 1 or possibly because my checks come from a “daycare fund” but does that offer hope or is it merely an aside? Now comes the stress for July’s payments…whoopee

    Comment by Mom to 50 Tuesday, Jul 14, 09 @ 11:11 pm

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