WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Judge Delays Layoffs

Johnson County, IL – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he'll fight to reverse a judge's order that temporarily prevents him from laying off prison guards, human service workers, and other state workers.

A Johnson County Circuit Court judge barred Quinn from beginning layoffs. As a result, 500 state employees who would have been out of work on Wednesday will hold onto their jobs, at least temporarily.

The judge says the administration must first continue formal negotiations with the workers' union, AFSCME.

But Quinn says Illinois' budget is tight, and AFSCME has turned down offers to instead take furloughs or a wage cut. So he says he'll appeal the judge's ruling.

"I anticipated this from the get go. The union has, you know, done that in the past. And so we will use our legal process. We followed everything under the contract, we've done everything as required with respect to layoffs. And the union's gonna resist it," says Quinn.

The governor also refutes the union's argument that having fewer prison guards would jeopardize public safety.

But AFSCME says the court order clearly underscores its argument that the harm posed by layoffs is great.

Anders Lindall is a spokesman for AFSCME. He says Quinn should rescind his layoff order permanently and instead cut private contracts.

"Rather than throwing state employees off work in the worst economy of their lifetimes, worsening in this recession, if you have a financial emergency you should be providing those services and be protecting jobs. But you should also be cutting unnecessary expenses," says Lindall.

AFSCME also says the state budget should not be balanced on the backs of its members.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio