From Illinois News Network
The state’s largest employees’ union says Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to try and force a strike or lockout while the union works to enact legislation to block a work stoppage and bring in a third party arbitrator.
That’s according to an AFSCME Council 31 bargaining update posted to the Capitol Fax blog as a contract extension nears an end with no agreement in sight.
Among the issues the Rauner administration is pushing, according to the AFSCME bulletin, are no wage or step increases for the entire term of the contract, and a restructuring of the group health insurance plan the union says would increase out-of-pocket costs by 500 percent.
The union also decries several items including elimination of all restrictions on subcontracting or personal service contracts, reduced pension benefits for those voluntarily agreeing to move to tier 2 and the elimination of the Upward Mobility Program in its entirety.
A previous Illinois News Network investigation found the state spends nearly $4 million, which includes administration costs, on the program that offers taxpayer funded college education for state employees.
The current contract expired at the end of June but both sides announced a one-month extension. The bulletin says AFSCME has proposed another extension.
The bulletin also urges union members to take financial steps now to buffer any potential work stoppage they claim the Governor is trying to force. Meanwhile the union says a strike is a last resort but something they’re willing to take.
The document encourages union members to put pressure on Republican Representative Raymond Poe to support Senate Bill 1229, a vote they say would be needed to override any potential veto of the measure that would bring in a third party arbitrator.
The Governor’s office says they were able to reach an agreement with the Teamsters several weeks ago and are continuing to negotiate in good faith with AFSCME to ensure all of their members get paid during the budget impasse.