WIUM Tristates Public Radio

AFSCME

T.J. Carson

The Illinois Animal Disease Testing Laboratory in Galesburg has  conducted tests on dead animals since 1976.  The testing is done to determine the presence of West Nile virus and other diseases.  But the facility is scheduled to close at the end of April.

Governor Bruce Rauner's administration is accusing Illinois' biggest government union of an unfair labor practice.

T.J. Carson

AFSCME members in Galesburg spent their lunch hour on Thursday chanting "What's disgusting? Union busting" and "2, 4, 6, 8, Rauner should negotiate."

The Illinois Supreme Court will be asked to re-visit an opinion it just issued March 24. State employees' salaries are at stake. 

The Illinois Supreme Court will be asked to re-visit an opinion it just issued March 24. State employees' salaries are at stake. 


Illinois’ Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing to decide if Governor Bruce Rauner and the state’s largest public employees union have reached an impasse.


Illinois lawmakers are once again considering an intervention in state labor negotiations.

Contract talks have stalled between Illinois' biggest government labor union -- AFSCME -- and Governor Bruce Rauner.

Rauner wants the state Labor Relations Board to decide whether negotiations are at an impasse; the union says that’s premature.

Under legislation approved by a House committee yesterday, such failed negotiations would be resolved by an arbitrator on whom both sides agree.

AFSCME says it’s willing to give up its right to strike to get that change.

afscme31.org

The rift between Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and the state's public employee union has escalated. Friday morning Rauner announced he's asking the state labor board to decide if negotiations with AFSCME have reached an impasse.

Brian Mackey

Some 36,000 state employees in Illinois are represented by AFSCME, which is the state's largest public employee union. The organization has been negotiating a new contract with the state, but the union said Friday that Governor Bruce Rauner has walked away from contract talks.

Another set of unions have reached contract deals with Gov. Bruce Rauner. Amanda Vinicky looks at whether it's really a sign the Republican isn't quite as anti-union as his critics allege.

A press release from Rauner's office proclaims he's agreed to terms on new collective bargaining agreements with electrical workers, boilermakers, bricklayers and painters, covering some 500 employees.

Gov. Bruce Rauner recently reached an agreement with a trio of unions -- representing some 300 plumbers, machinists and engineers and operators. But he's still at odds with unions representing the bulk of state employees: the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the Service Employees International Union.

SEIU represents home care workers -- people who help the disabled and elderly care for themselves. Denise Gaines, legislative director of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, says now, these workers get paid to take important training.

Amanda Vinicky

The stakes will be high for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and state employees when the Illinois House votes -- perhaps as early as Wednesday -- on a measure that could have repercussions for years.

Even if Illinois lawmakers and the governor can't reach a budget deal by Wednesday, state employees have another two weeks before they really need to worry about being paid. That's when their first paychecks of the new fiscal year are set to be issued.  But there's confusion over whether they'll get money after that point, or not.

An email sent by Gov. Rauner takes a reassuring tone.

"State employees will be paid for their work --- and I will do everything within my power to ensure you don’t miss a single payroll," he writes.

But will the money come through?

Tuesday is "deadline day" for state government.  But one deadline is being given a month-long extension.

June 30th is the final day of the fiscal year; after which, the current budget expires. It's also the final day of the state's contract with its largest public employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

T.J. Carson

Around 50 state of Illinois workers and their supporters demonstrated in front of the Department of Children and Family Services building on East Main Street in Galesburg during the noon hour on Thursday.  They handed out informational flyers to passersby.

Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Governor Bruce Rauner has spent much of his first few months in office talking about labor unions. He’s shared not only policy proposals, but also his ideas about the history of the union movement.

Brian Mackey

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on Monday banned so-called fair share union fees, calling them unconstitutional.

Illinois lawmakers hope to have a second shot at reaching a compromise with public employees over pensions, but the unions are pinning their hopes on the court system.

AFSCME Members Ratify Pact

Mar 20, 2013
AFSCME31.org

Members of the largest public employees union in Illinois voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract with the state. 96% of those who voted were in favor of the pact.

AFSCME and Governor Pat Quinn's administration reached a deal in late February.  But in order for it to take effect, a majority of the union's members had to agree to it.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said this may have been the toughest negotiations the union's ever experienced.

Retirees to Help Pay for Healthcare

Mar 4, 2013
Rich Egger

Retired state workers in Illinois now know how much they will be required to contribute to their health care costs. The details are in the tentative contract agreement between the state and AFSCME.

The pact also will give the state the savings it had already been counting on.

Until now, state and university employees who retired after long government careers had not been required to pay any health care premiums. A new state law changed that, but how much they would pay was subject to contract negotiations, which dragged on for 15 months.

AFSCME Contract Agreement in Illinois

Feb 28, 2013
Rich Egger

After 15 months of negotiating, Illinois' largest government-employee union has reached a tentative contract deal with the administration of Governor Pat Quinn.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said the specifics will be kept private for now.

“It's a three-year agreement. The details are going to be reviewed by our entire rank-and-file membership. ... The ratification process will get started the week of this coming Monday, March 4," Lindall said. 

AFSCME31.org

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. 

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.

Illinois House Adjourns Without Vote on Pension Plan

Jan 7, 2013

Over the protests of state employee unions, an Illinois House committee gave bipartisan support to a plan intended to repair Illinois' underfunded pensions.  But the full House adjourned Monday without taking a vote.

The legislation would leave workers paying more for a smaller retirement benefit.  House Republican leader Tom Cross said the change is necessary given the condition of Illinois' pension systems.

State Workers Propose Illinois Pension Plan

Dec 19, 2012
Rich Egger

State employee unions say the leading proposals to fix Illinois' public employee pension systems are all fatally flawed, so they proposed their own plan.

Workers point out any attempt to plug the $96 billion funding shortfall must respect the state Constitution, which says benefits "shall not be diminished."

The proposals backed by Governor Pat Quinn and other political leaders attempt to get around that in order to cut retirement benefits. But AFSCME Legislative Director Joanna Webb-Gauvin said those ideas will ultimately fail in the courts.

Illinois’ friends of labor must be feeling a double-whammy double-cross , as Gov. Pat Quinn last month terminated the state’s contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and House Speaker Mike Madigan revived his dormant resolution to limit raises to people who work for the state.

Rich Egger

40,000 state employees in Illinois no longer have a contract.

Governor Pat Quinn on November 20 took the unprecedented step of terminating Illinois' contract with the state's largest public employees union, AFSCME.

The contract expired in June, but the two sides agreed to multiple extensions as they negotiated over a new one.

Rich Egger

It's class warfare, on the policy front.

A letter from the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago shames Illinois lawmakers for not doing anything to address the state’s growing pension debt.

President Ty Fahner said unless there is a major overhaul, the systems will collapse under their own weight.

Retired state and public university employees in Illinois will have to pitch in for their health insurance under a measure approved by an Illinois House committee.

Free health insurance is a benefit given to retirees who worked long careers in Illinois government. Legislators who serve as little as four years also get free health care when they retire.

Warren County's AFSCME employees have a contract for the first time since November 30th 2010.

The county and the union did not hold regular negotiations for nearly two years.

The chairman of the county's finance committee, Mike Pearson, said the delay means it will be a while before employees realize their raises.

He said, “There will be some retroactive pay there so that'll take a few days or weeks to get distributed on a normal payday.”

The largest public employees union in Illinois said Governor Pat Quinn is a hypocrite and its members took their complaint to the state Capitol one day after the governor gave his State of the State speech.

AFSCME said Quinn's announcements of new programs don't square with his stance that Illinois is too broke to afford union pay raises.

The  union represents prison guards, welfare counselors, and thousands of clerical and administrative state employees.

AFSCME said it's time for Quinn to change his mind  and pay the raises state workers were guaranteed.