(From WTTW’s Chicago Tonight…)
Lawmakers React to Rauner’s State of the State Speech
Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his second State of the State address Wednesday as Illinois continues to see an unprecedented budget impasse that has resulted in social service providers shuttering programs, disruptions in state college grants that are forcing some students to drop out, and a growing backlog of unpaid bills that jeopardizes the state’s credit rating, which is already the lowest of any other state in the nation.
How will Rauner appeal to the Democratic-controlled General Assembly and, just as importantly, how will Democratic leaders respond?
We talked with Amanda Vinicky about reactions from lawmakers. Below, some highlights from our conversation.
On Rauner’s effectiveness in promoting bipartisanship
“It’s clear that he was trying for that at least. He did not chide Michael Madigan–that would have deepened divisions–but still: Response, particularly from Democrats, was tepid to say the least. They barely clapped, they were polite, but that is about all,” Vinicky said. “Rauner, in trying to strike this tone, did say that sure, there are some controversial measures. Look at workers compensation, or his plans for local government consolidation. In some hope of maybe progress, Rauner said, ‘Okay, instead of taking the whole kit and caboodle, let’s do the easy stuff first.
“Trust really remains a big issue. He may have had this pleasant tone now, but how long is it going to stay, Democrats are asking.”
On how tough it will be to work on issues like pension reform and education funding when there’s no budget
“These are two tough issues. While unions had been on board with this concept that [Senate President John] Cullerton had proposed previously, they now are armed with this court decision from Illinois’ high bench, and so they’re not going to like this one bit,” Vinicky said. “Of course, unions are under siege plenty elsewhere with Rauner’s plans, so maybe they’ll let up on this, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“When it comes to education funding, again, Rauner says he’s open to it, but that is tougher especially given the state’s budget difficulties,” she added.
Vinicky says Republicans are unhappy with a plan that would take money from wealthier suburban districts in order to funding poorer school districts.
“It’s not as if Illinois has money to give extra dollars to every district.”
On whether lawmakers saw the speech as a missed opportunity to discuss the budget impasse
“That was a very common sentiment from Democrats, and also from social services providers that say they need answers and they can’t wait any longer. … Republicans say, ‘Hey everybody, cool your jets a little bit. In just a couple weeks, Gov. Bruce Rauner will be back there before a joint-session of the General Assembly to present a budget plan,’” Vinicky said.
“It is difficult, given that Illinois is in a historic situation here. We’re about at the eight-month mark without a budget.”
Reaction to Rauner’s address:
Senate President John Cullerton said the governor and General Assembly need to work together:
“Clearly there are numerous issues over which we disagree. But I’m going to focus on the few areas where there might be some agreement. That’s the only way we’re going to work our way out of this situation.
Today, I heard the governor echo my call for making school funding reform a priority and his desire to come up with a system that better recognizes the needs of students living in poverty and those facing other challenges. I commend him on that stand. An equitable school funding system is the turnaround Illinois needs.
If the governor wants to work with Senate Democrats, committing to a better school funding system is a good way to start.
I also appreciate the time the governor has taken to better understand our model for what we hope would be constitutional pension reform. He’s moved a long way from his initial proposal and I know that wasn’t easy. I look forward to working with him.
However, while I appreciate the governor’s support in these key areas, there are many areas of disagreement. On a daily basis our safety net is unravelling, leaving disabled seniors and homeless veterans nowhere to go.
We’re not honoring our student aid commitments to college students. We’re not providing any public support to our public universities and colleges. That’s all because of the stance the governor has taken over the state’s budget. He caused this. He can end it.
But I don’t want to get hung up on disagreements. We’ve got to find ways to work together to solve problems, and we need to start now because Governor Rauner’s first year in office didn’t work for anyone.”
AFSCME slammed the governor’s speech in a statement by AFSCME Council 31 director Roberta Lynch:
“His claims about state employee compensation and our union’s proposals at the bargaining table are simply false.
- Contrary to Rauner’s untrue claim that state employees are paid more than private-sector workers, the University of Illinois revealed that Illinois state workers are paid 13.5% percent less than their private-sector counterparts.
- Rauner also falsely claimed that state employees are higher-paid in Illinois than anywhere else; the U of I study shows Illinois ranked ninth.
- With respect to the union’s proposals in contract negotiations—which don’t come close to the governor’s fictional $3 billion figure—AFSCME has modified our initial positions, including on wages, and we’ve made clear we’re prepared to negotiate further on wages, benefits and all other topics.
- Contrary to the governor’s negative portrayal of state employees, Illinois state employees are exceptionally productive. Illinois has one of the nation’s smallest state workforces per capita, while inflation-adjusted payroll has held steady for a decade and represents barely 7% of total state spending.
“AFSCME has consistently sought to find common ground, but the governor relentlessly seeks conflict. The people of Illinois need stability and solutions, but the governor has terminated contract negotiations and walked away from the table, trying to force confrontation and disruption.
“It’s past time for Governor Rauner to stop making blatantly false claims, return to bargaining and work with us to reach an agreement that is fair to all.”
Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman placed the blame for the state’s problems on the “status-quo political establishment,” calling Rauner’s speech “refreshing”:
“Illinois is in a world of hurt. The resounding chorus from special interests and opponents of reform in Springfield is that all would be well in Illinois if only the governor would agree to more tax increases and just sign a budget. That thinking is completely wrong, and today’s address by Rauner is a refreshing reminder that he doesn’t buy that argument, either.
“Illinois’ deep problems did not begin during the last 12 months with Rauner as governor, but during the last several decades of House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and the rest of the status-quo political establishment. Now this same crowd is standing in the way of the very reforms needed to save Illinois. It’s time to face reality and accept that doing things the way they have been done for years has not worked and will not save our state going forward. Illinois must embrace dramatic change and reform, such as the ideas offered in Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda.
“Madigan and many Democrats insist that Rauner’s union reforms would hurt the middle class and reduce Illinoisans’ standard of living. But if things are so great without reform, then why do blue-collar workers in Right-to-Work Indiana make more than the same workers in Illinois? Why did Illinois have fewer jobs at the end of 2015 than it had at the start? Why hasn’t the manufacturing sector recovered from the Great Recession?
“Proponents of more tax increases think that stealing $3 billion, $4 billion or more from hard-working families is the solution. But we’ve seen where that got us in the past: The money never went to classrooms or social services. Ninety cents out of every $1 generated by the 2011 tax hike went straight to a bloated, broken pension system that puts the interests of retired government workers ahead of taxpayers, the working class and the poor.
“Opponents of reform claim that Rauner is ‘holding hostage’ the state budget over nonbudget matters. But consider this: Illinois could save $300 million annually by reforming workers’ compensation for employees of local and state government. Local governments could save hundreds of millions of dollars if only they were able to get around a restrictive prevailing-wage system in Illinois and instead engage in competitive bidding for public construction work. The rate at which people are moving out of Illinois has accelerated dramatically in recent years; on net, one taxpayer moves out of the state every 5 minutes. This massive out-migration from Illinois has cost more than $8 billion in annual state and local taxes since 1995. And consider what Illinois could be like if, instead of losing jobs over the course of a year, businesses viewed the state as a place where they could set up shop, expand and start hiring from our talented workforce.
“The governor signing his name at the bottom of another unbalanced budget won’t do anything to save Illinois from its looming economic collapse. Even signing his name at the bottom of a balanced budget isn’t enough to fix Illinois. The only way for Illinois to reclaim its place as a beacon of economic prosperity and bastion of opportunity is to enact significant, transformational reforms.”
Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery called Rauner’s speech a distraction from the state’s budget crisis:
“Try as he might to distract from it today, Governor Rauner can’t escape his failure to fulfill his primary responsibility — to negotiate and enact a state budget.
His calls for bipartisanship are difficult to take seriously, especially given his identical words last year and his unwillingness or inability to lead since. Colleges and social services are making drastic cuts and average citizens are suffering while the Governor refuses to negotiate or ask the wealthiest to pay a dime more, despite a majority of Illinois voters who support exactly that.
We also heard another list of so-called education reforms today, the vast majority of which do nothing to improve teaching, learning, or student success. We agree that we need to better fund our schools, but we reject the Governor’s demand that change must be contingent on his political agenda to weaken the rights and voices of working people, whom he’s been attacking relentlessly.
What we didn’t hear today was a real plan to address revenue for public schools and services or the funding crisis in higher education.
Our teachers, faculty, and staff go to work each day trying to help others, trying to educate our children, trying to resolve – not create – conflict. If he truly wants to work together and address our state’s problems, Governor Rauner could learn a thing or two from them.”
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association said in a statement it was hopeful for progress:
“The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association strongly agrees that reinvigorating our economy must continue to be a top priority for leaders in the state. Illinois cannot afford to wait and risk losing another 14,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs this year that serve as the backbone of our middle class. Many items outlined by the Governor including workers’ compensation reform, creation of a new economic development partnership, and investing in education from pre-K through college are critically important for improving the lives of Illinois families and businesses. We are hopeful that leaders on both sides of the aisle can come together to achieve innovative solutions that will move Illinois forward.”
In a statement, the Chicago Teachers Union slammed Rauner’s speech:
Governor Bruce Rauner’s so-called “Turnaround Agenda” is merely a harsher version of the present, as he reiterated his continued protection of the status quo in today’s State of the State address—more austerity for the vast majority of Illinoisans, and more power and influence for the privileged few.
Gov. Rauner’s vision is neither a turnaround nor a path forward to a more equitable economy. The platitudes about competitiveness, efficiency, and bureaucracy were all present in his address, but the real value drivers of substance were lacking. The real challenges facing Illinois, like those facing Chicago’s public schools, are tied to revenue, finance and racial justice. We heard nothing from the governor about the progressive revenue measures that are needed to address Illinois’ budget shortfalls—measures like a graduated income tax, a millionaires’ tax for education and an end to corporate subsidies to companies that slash jobs. Nor did the governor do anything to fight sweetheart bank deals like toxic interest rate swaps that drain hundreds of millions from state, city and Chicago Public Schools coffers.
“If the governor really cared about property taxes for working people, he would ensure that his biggest backers—those select few in his tax bracket—paid what they really owe, but his proposals are instead more job cuts that drain our residents’ ability to support their families,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “If we really want to improve our state’s competitiveness, we need to support our public universities and ensure that low-income students have access to MAP grants, rather than hold our higher education centers hostage.”
Despite being unwilling to pass a state budget without extorting the General Assembly, and despite preaching the gospel of local control, the governor last week proposed a Flint, Michigan-style emergency management for Chicago Public Schools—a district that that overwhelmingly serves low-income African-American and Latino students and families. This and other attacks on working people are hardly examples of a turnaround, but evidence of another year of no state budget and little governing.
The governor’s education proposals are the clearest evidence of his continued support for the status quo. His proposal to spread the Chicago mayoral control model across the state is the same model that enabled Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked Chicago Board of Education to go broke on purpose. This is also the school governance model that led to a decade of pension holidays, 15 years of unchecked charter school proliferation and a massive expansion of the district’s debt. As such, the governor’s model for cost control actually explodes costs and prevents parents from having a real voice in class size, curriculum and school governance. His proposals to “streamline bureaucracy” really mean things like enacting deep cuts to special education positions, which were handed down in CPS last week.
Chicago’s public schools need more counselors, psychologists, social workers and nurses, and not additional “school choice.” Students need their existing schools to be well-resourced and supported, not forced to compete under the continued threat of greater budget cuts. Educators and school staff need real freedom to teach and guide through massive reductions in standardized testing and changes to the flawed teacher evaluation system. Chicago needs an elected representative school board now that empowers parents and communities.
If the governor wants to share a path forward, he should look north to the state of Minnesota, which has a $2 billion surplus—the result of much higher tax rates on the state’s wealthiest residents. Minnesota funds its schools at a higher level and much more fairly than Illinois, with job growth that has outpaced Gov. Rauner’s blueprint states such as Wisconsin, Indiana and Kansas. Minnesota’s economy has also grown faster than other states in the Midwest. This is an example of a true turnaround and a real change to the status quo, and not just some fever dream vision that the General Assembly, and Illinois voters, have soundly rejected.
And the war wages on. We are Public Enemy #1, and King Bruce is going to continue to heap blame on all unions, but especially AFSCME for the state’s fiscal woes. And remember he pledged to do this when he was only a candidate for office…
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois has laid off 750 employees and closed services. Catholic Charities is evaluating what they can do with monies left. Both agencies continued to provide services, using their own funds or borrowing money to stay afloat. It is estimated that between only these two agencies, they are owed over 22 million dollars. The public is in pain. King Bruce is pleased.
(From WTTW’s Chicago Tonight…)
Tension Escalates Between Gov. Rauner, AFSCME
For almost a year Gov. Bruce Rauner and one of the state’s largest unions have unsuccessfully tried hammering out a new contract for nearly 40,000 public employees. Tensions escalated Friday when Rauner accused the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) of bargaining in bad faith.
Rauner is now asking the state’s Labor Relations Board to determine if negotiations have hit an impasse. If the board says yes, the AFSCME will be forced to decide if it will accept Rauner’s last, best offer or go on strike–something the union has never done before.
The state touts “significant concessions” in a document provided by Rauner’s office that summarizes proposals it has withdrawn, modfied or agreed to during negotiations with AFSCME, whose proposals are described as “unaffordable and unrealistic.”
“AFSCME’s proposed contract would cost the state over $3 billion over the four-year term of the contract,” the document states.
“Negotiations have been robust, totaling 67 days of meetings, 24 formal negotiating sessions, and over 300 different proposals,” Rauner wrote in a letter to state employees dated Jan. 15.
He goes on to contrast the negotiation process between the state and AFSCME with that of the state and other unions representing state employees, all done against a backdrop of challenging financial circumstances.
“We reached agreements with 17 different bargaining units represented by tough, but fair, negotiators from labor unions that have long histories as vigorous advocates for their members,” he wrote. “The Teamsters, SEIU, the Laborer’s International Union, and the International Union of Operating Engineers are among the unions with which we have reached agreements.”
“From one bargaining unit after another, the response was uplifting,” the letter goes on to say. “Many of these negotiations took a matter of days, not months. … AFSCME’s response and the tone of their negotiations, however, were very different from the start.”
“Last Friday when negotiations broke down, the very last words from AFSCME’s chief negotiator were, ‘I have nothing else to say and am not interested in hearing what you have to say at this point – carry that message back to your principals.’
“I hear that message loud and clear and take those words to heart. AFSCME has no intention of ever reaching a deal at the table. Our efforts at responding to AFSCME’s concerns and producing thoughtful proposals were rejected. We are no closer today than we were 12 months ago. Taxpayers will not be served by further sessions.”
Roberta Lynch, AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director, issued a response to Rauner’s actions. It reads, in part:
“AFSCME and the public-service workers we represent have worked hard to reach a fair agreement with the Rauner Administration, and we’re prepared to continue to do so. We reject the claim that the bargaining process is at an impasse.
“Rauner’s demands would force workers and their families pay double to keep their health care—making the Illinois state health plan the nation’s worst for any state workforce—while getting zero wage increase for four years. Instead of fairly compensating all workers, he wants to base bonuses on unknown criteria open to political favoritism. And the governor wants to wipe out protections against irresponsible privatization of public services. These are just some of more than 200 extreme demands the administration has made during this process.”
Watch the show here: Lindall should have clocked Tillman right there in the studio!
We know the king will be financing the reelection bids of “Independent Democrat” Ken Dunkin and Jack Franks, and now will fund the campaign of Jason Gonzales also, to try and unseat Mike Madigan. SEIU settles contracts quickly, as we already know, for fear that they’re going to miss out. They put fear into their members to “take the deal”, no natter how bad it will be. Teamsters too use this tactic. Guess it’s too much for them to negotiate a deal than to just fold every contract?
(From AFSCME Council 31 Webpage…)
AFSCME responds to Rauner administration’s attempt to terminate union contract negotiations
On January 15, 2016, Governor Rauner issued a news release in which the administration claimed that state employee contract negotiations are at an impasse. AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director issued the following statement in response:
“AFSCME and the public-service workers we represent have worked hard to reach a fair agreement with the Rauner Administration, and we’re prepared to continue to do so. We reject the claim that the bargaining process is at an impasse.
“It’s regrettable and damaging to the public interest that the governor has chosen a confrontational path. Just as Gov. Rauner is holding the state budget hostage, his ‘my way or no way’ demands of state employees are the obstacle to a fair agreement. Rauner’s demands would force workers and their families pay double to keep their health care—making the Illinois state health plan the nation’s worst for any state workforce—while getting zero wage increase for four years. Instead of fairly compensating all workers, he wants to base bonuses on unknown criteria open to political favoritism. And the governor wants to wipe out protections against irresponsible privatization of public services. These are just some of more than 200 extreme demands the administration has made during this process.
“Although we have serious disagreements with the governor’s positions, we reject the administration’s charge that we have not been ‘seriously negotiating.’ The members of AFSCME’s rank-and-file elected bargaining committee have consistently responded to the administration’s demands with fair counterproposals. We’re committed to continuing to do so, and we don’t want disruption of the public services we provide. That’s why last summer we supported the option of both sides going before an independent arbitrator if our differences couldn’t be resolved by bargaining.
“Unfortunately, the administration’s ongoing campaign of false claims about these negotiations makes compromise that much harder to achieve. Among their many misleading statements, the administration has never offered AFSCME the same terms as other unions. Some unions received vastly better terms on health insurance than those offered to AFSCME. Many others did not agree to a four-year pay freeze. We know of none who agreed to change hours of work or reduce overtime or holiday pay for employees who go above and beyond to serve. In any event, no union can be forced to accept the terms of other unions that have different circumstances and concerns.
“The administration claims to want innovation, yet it has rejected our union’s proposals to work together to improve inmate rehabilitation programs in state prisons, rejected our proposals to ensure nondiscrimination in the hiring of women and minorities, and rejected our proposals for labor-management collaboration to improve public services.
Governor Rauner is wrong to walk away and try to end negotiations. Public-service workers who keep us safe, protect kids, respond to emergencies and care for the most vulnerable want to keep serving their communities, and they want to do their part to reach a fair agreement, but we can’t do it alone.”
(From the Herald & Review…)
Rauner seeks impasse ruling in AFSCME talks
Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday took the first steps toward having an impasse declared in contract negotiations with the largest union representing state workers.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, meanwhile, rejected the idea that the talks are stalled and said it is prepared to continue negotiating.
Representatives for the Republican governor and the union have been at the bargaining table for nearly a year, and each side accuses the other of refusing to budge on wages, health care costs and other issues. The nearly 40,000 state workers the union represents have been working without a contract since July.
The Rauner administration on Friday filed an unfair labor practices charge against ASFCME with the Illinois Labor Relations Board and asked the board to determine whether the talks have reach an impasse.
Under an agreement signed by both parties, if the board ultimately makes that determination, it could clear the way for the administration to impose its “best and final offer.”
In a series of interviews this week marking the first anniversary of his inauguration, Rauner touted his administration’s agreements on “innovative new contracts” with 17 other unions, which together represent more than 5,000 state workers. Those deals implemented merit bonuses and froze wages for four-years for many workers.
He accused AFSCME of intransigence in 67 negotiating sessions.
“They’ve rejected every proposal that we’ve made, and very adamantly,” Rauner told the Herald & Review Springfield Bureau. “They’ve offered no compromises from their opening position whatsoever, and they’re asking for a lot in terms of raises and increases.”
The administration said in Friday’s announcement that the union last week “refused to seriously negotiate for the 24th bargaining session in a row.”
But AFSCME said it has offered many counterproposals to the governor’s negotiators.
“It’s regrettable and damaging to the public interest that the governor has chosen a confrontational path,” the union said in a written statement. “Just as Gov. Rauner is holding the state budget hostage, his ‘my way or no way’ demands of state employees are the obstacle to a fair agreement.”
The administration has made “more than 200 extreme demands” during negotiations, including a four-year wage freeze, according to the union.
Robert Bruno, a labor relations expert at the University of Illinois, said pushing for a declaration of impasse is a risky maneuver.
“The term in chess is a gambit, a big move that comes with some risk but that can transform a series of iterative actions,” he said. “So this feels to me like a gambit on the part of the governor.”
Rauner risks having to return to the bargaining table with an unfavorable ruling, Bruno said, and he also risks repercussions, such as a possible strike, if he succeeds and is able to impose the changes he’s seeking.
Proving his case will be difficult because “impasse” is a technical term in labor relations that goes beyond a simple lack of agreement, Bruno said.
“It’s a fairly high bar to cross,” he said.
Melissa Mlynski, executive director of the labor board, said her agency received the governor’s charge and has begun its investigation.
King Bruce has stacked the deck and wants it HIS way or else! The king has appointed 3 of 5 members on the labor review board, who better rule his way or look for another job!
AFSCME isn’t going to cave in to anti-union bullying as the king wants. Why would we? Freeze wages + pay double for health care + establish a right to work policy for less money than workers earn now?
As for his contract agreements, they’re mostly with trade unions, who agreed to continue to receive the prevailing wage or whatever the prevailing wage is for their job. Mostly $35 + hourly, and they get their health care through their union, so they don’t care what the State benefits allow.
The Executive Board wishes everyone a Very Happy New Year! Keep your celebrations safe, and designate a driver before you begin celebrating!
Remember – You ARE the Probation Officer. You don’t want to become a client of your neighbor in the next cubicle!
The Executive Board wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a happy & healthy New Year 2016!
We hope your gatherings are filled with much joy and gladness, and your travels safe during these days.
(From the Chicago Tribune…)
Lincolnshire considers going ‘right to work’ in village limits
The Lincolnshire Village Board might soon give unionized employees who work at private companies inside village boundaries the choice of whether or not to pay union dues.
And a variety of interests from outside their boundaries might gather in Village Hall, either to support or protest the move.
At a meeting on Dec. 14, trustees are expected to consider an ordinance that, if approved, would make Lincolnshire a “right-to-work” zone, according to the village. The law would allow workers in village limits to opt out of paying union dues.
As of Monday, Lincolnshire Mayor Liz Brandt had not returned several calls seeking comment. She said via text last week she was out of town and unavailable. Trustee Mara Grujanac declined to comment because she said she had not attended the most recent board meeting and was not updated on the matter. All other village trustees did not return calls.
So-called “right to work” zones – hailed as individual empowerment by proponents and a union-breaking scheme by detractors – have become a part of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda. The vote in Lincolnshire has caught the attention of the Chicago Federation of Labor, conservative policy makers and other interested parties.
“The concept of local right-to-work is pretty new,” said Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank that hopes to see the concept grab traction.
Tonya Zozulya, Lincolnshire’s economic development director, wrote in an email that the village presently holds about 25,000 jobs. How many of those are in unions, though, is not a statistic the village keeps, officials said.
The ordinance Lincolnshire officials will consider would affect only private corporations and would have no impact on the area’s police officers, firefighters, teachers or other public employees.
Roger Sosa, the executive director of the Buffalo Grove Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said his organization had no stance on the proposal. He said most of the chamber’s members are small businesses with no unions.
He noted, though, that word of a right-to-work zone in Lincolnshire is spreading. Among the comments he has heard was one angry business owner who reportedly takes part in the Taste of Lincolnshire and other community events. Sosa said this owner will refuse to work with Lincolnshire if it passes the ordinance.
“I thought ‘Wow, that’s pretty severe stuff,’” Sosa said.
The Chicago Federation of Labor is calling for its members to assemble in Village Hall to protest the vote. At the Northeastern Illinois Federation of Labor, an AFL-CIO branch, president Patrick Statter said last week that his group will organize an effort to stop what he called a “right to work for less” zone.
“Certainly, it’s a slap in the face to organized labor,” Statter said of the proposal.
Corporations and unions can come to arrangements by which new employees are required to join the union that covers the position they have been hired into. Their employer company then takes money out of the employee’s paycheck for union dues.
In May, Lincolnshire became one of a group of suburbs – including Elk Grove Village, East Dundee and Round Lake Beach — that endorsed the plan to make payment of dues voluntary. But the endorsement was a formality and had no effect on any municipalities’ codes — unlike a new ordinance.
“Lincolnshire for whatever reason, is now taking it a step further,” Statter said.
Rasmussen said workers in Lincolnshire deserve the choice of whether or not to pay union dues.
“If the employee sees value in the union, they should be empowered to give the union their dues,” she said.
And this is just what King Bruce wants to see. Lower wages and reduced benefits under the umbrella of having a right to work zone – a right to work harder and longer for less!
Tickets are going fast for our holiday party at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza! Don’t be left out!
Order your ticket(s) by Friday, 12/4! Tickets are $35 for Union members, $70 for non-members. Contact Jim Farrlley for your ticket!
Drinks begin at 7:30 & food at 8. Come on down after your late night and let your hair down!
See post from 11/6 for more info!
King Bruce is holding the state budget hostage to his anti-union agenda, inflicting harm on countless Illinois citizens as vital services are placed in jeopardy.
The King is also holding hostage tens of thousands of state employees, insisting on extreme demands in union contract negotiations.
It’s time to come together to send a clear message to the King & his minions: All workers deserve a voice on the job, family-supporting wages, affordable health care and dignity in retirement. And every Illinois resident deserves access to the vital public services that state and local government provide.
Come out on Saturday, December 5th at 1:30pm at Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington, Chicago to show your support for labor in Illinois!
For more information, visit AFSCME31.org/Rally for more information. Be sure to wear your AFSCME Green!
(From the State-Journal Register…)
Rauner touts labor agreements covering 500 workers; criticizes AFSCME
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office said November 18th, that it has reached agreement on new contracts with 11 more labor unions, most of them trade unions, representing about 500 state workers.
The Republican’s administration used the announcement to once again criticize the largest state employee union — Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — for failing to come to an agreement on a new contract after months of negotiations.
“These developments stand in stark contrast to the ongoing negotiations with AFSCME Council 31,” the administration said in a prepared statement. “Despite being offered substantially the same material terms as the Teamsters and the Trades, AFSCME has to date rejected the governor’s chief proposals.”
In addition to the agreements announced November 18th, the administration previously reached deals with the Teamsters and several other trade unions. The administration said it has now reached agreements with 17 bargaining units representing more than 5,000 state employees.
“AFSCME is now on the opposite side of these negotiations from their own colleagues in organized labor,” the administration’s statement said. “AFSCME continues to reject many of the same, reasonable proposals being ratified by wide margins by their fellow state employees.”
AFSCME, which represents about 35,000 state workers, said the governor’s office is comparing dissimilar unions.
“Because (trade unions) have independent health plans, their members have the option not to take state health insurance,” AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said. “Similarly, their pay is typically set by the prevailing wage. Our union negotiates the health plan covering state and university employees and retirees and bargains wage schedules for more than 500 job titles.”
Lindall said that in addition to AFSCME, the administration still hasn’t reached agreements with six other unions representing 40,000 state employees and thousands of home care workers. The unions include the Illinois Nurses Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Fraternal Order of Police, Police Benevolent and Protective Association, and Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois.
SEIU Healthcare Illinois president Keith Kelleher said the union represents 52,000 home health care workers.
“At the bargaining table, Gov. Rauner has sought to strip the lowest-paid workforce in the state of health insurance and training, along with other demands meant to diminish if not outright eliminate the workplace voice of these vital workers,” Kelleher said. “He also is demanding a wage freeze for workers earning poverty-level wages.”
Kelleher said the administration “presses extreme demands that would totally destabilize this workforce.”
Lindall said the administration wants a four-year wage freeze and “huge hikes in employee health costs, forcing workers to pay double their current premium to keep their coverage and driving down their take-home pay.”
The agreements announced Wednesday are all four-year pacts that continue using the prevailing wage system to determine what the workers will be paid. They also call for continuing a 40-hour workweek before overtime is earned, bonuses for workers who recommend cost-saving measures or who exceed performance standards, and a reduction in payout for unused vacation time from 75 days to 45 days.
The administration also said employees will be given new insurance options, including something the administration likened to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, where people can choose between a variety of plans suited to their needs. Those plans have yet to be developed. Workers would receive an average of $967 a month that could be applied to these new plans. That represents 60 percent of the $1,611 average monthly cost of employee health insurance.
The administration said AFSCME has rejected a four-year wage freeze, health insurance changes accepted by the trade unions, and a 40 hour — rather than 37.5 hour — workweek before overtime is paid.
Kent Redfield, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield, said the fact a number of unions have settled on new contracts doesn’t put pressure on AFSCME to settle.
“Certainly what the governor is trying to do by announcing these agreements and then trying to draw parallels with the AFSCME contract is present himself as somebody who is reasonable and will negotiate and that AFSCME has been intransigent,” Redfield said. “I don’t know that there’s any logic in trying to put pressure on AFSCME to settle” using these union agreements.
What these trades unions agreed to was to ‘prevailing wage’, which means no pay cuts. As for health care benefits, they are insured through their unions, and not the state. More smoke & mirrors from the King. Now you can’t even trust the news?? Really.