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…” (AFSCME responds to Rauner administration’s attempt to terminate union contract negotiations).
“In response to Governor Rauner’s move to declare impasse in negotiations with workers represented by AFSCME, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued the following statement:
‘Governor Rauner’s actions today prove once again that his priority is forced conflict, not progress. The 100,000 workers of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, some of whom are also state employees, are proud to stand with AFSCME as we face a deceptive and irresponsible Governor willing to use middle-class families, the most vulnerable, and our students as a wager in his fanatical game. Make no mistake: this isn’t in service of financial savings for the state. This is an ideological obsession unfit for a state leader forcing chaos to enact a reckless and unpopular agenda. Our members go to work each day trying to help others, trying to resolve conflict, trying to educate our children. Governor Rauner could learn a thing or two from them.’
“In addition to teachers, school staff, and higher education faculty at community colleges and universities throughout Illinois, the IFT includes thousands of public employees under dozens of agencies and statewide officeholders” (Capitol Fax).
For a summary of Rauner’s intractable budget proposal from last February that has created a reckless and irresponsible impasse in Illinois, click here.