UPDATE: Rauner Asks Labor Board To Rule If Labor Talks At Impasse
Governor Bruce Rauner is asking the Illinois Labor Relations Board to determine whether negotiations with the state's largest public employee union have reached an impasse.
"AFSCME has refused to compromise off of their starting position, which was status quo with major increases in compensation, and other issues," said Rauner.
The union -- the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees -- says that's false. It's emblematic of the back-and-forth between the two sides.
"There's room to find common ground if the governor shares out commitment to it," said AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall.
Rauner's request on Friday opens the door for him to impose his own terms for a labor agreement if the board rules the parties are deadlocked. We are no closer today than we were 12 months ago. Taxpayers will not be served by further sessions."
Rauner has been in contract talks for more than a year with AFSCME --- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees --- which represents about 36-thousand state workers in Illinois. The previous contract expired June 30th, but both sides agreed last year to keep negotiating without the possibility of a strike, work slowdown or lockout.
AFSCME, Illinois' s largest public employee union has asked Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration to flatly state whether contract talks are at a legal standstill.
A letter obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees claims that at a session last Friday, the union made concessions on wages and health care, but Rauner's team declared the year-old talks at impasse.
Administration officials later denied they had mentioned impasse but no further talks are set.
Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly says the letter is full of "falsehoods'' and that AFSCME needs to "seriously bargain'' or more talks are useless.
AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says the union stands by the letter's description of events and wants Rauner's "commitment to compromise.''
The last contract expired June 30.