WIUM Tristates Public Radio

AFSCME Continues to Consider Strike

Feb 20, 2013

Illinois’ largest public employees' union is talking more about a strike.  Henry Bayer, Executive Director of AFSCME, said contract talks with the governor's office are going nowhere. 

Credit AFSCME31.org

Bayer told Illinois Public Radio that a strike is a real possibility, and he said Governor Quinn is the catalyst.  Bayer said Quinn's termination of the union's previous contract and his attempts to force cuts in pay and benefits has workers ready to go on the picket line.

AFSCME sent a memo to members recently that offered tips on preparing for a strike, such as getting doctor visits done in advance and putting off large purchases. 

Bayer said AFSCME agreed to put off earlier pay raises to help the state's financial situation.   But he says the state’s latest demands are unacceptable. 

“There just doesn't seem to be any appreciation by the administration for the pressures our members are under,” Bayer said. 

“And instead of showing some appreciation and honoring their contract and trying to reach a fair settlement, this governor has just been dismissive.” 

The governor's office said negotiations continue in an effort to reach a contract that is fair to both union workers and taxpayers.

AFSCME members would need to vote to go on strike.  No vote has been scheduled.