AFSCME’s Contract Gets Two-Month Extension
Illinois’ largest state-worker union has agreed not to go on strike for at least another two months.
Gov. Bruce Rauner and AFSCME have agreed to a two-month contract extension, after already extending their contract's ending date from June 30 to July 31.
AFSCME represents 38,000 men and women — a significant share of the state workforce.
Despite the contract extension, AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says both sides remain far apart on basic issues like wages and health care.
"That distance is the result of the Rauner administration’s continued insistence on extreme demands," Lindall says.
Rauner denies that. He did, however, just veto union-backed legislation that would have sent contract disputes to binding arbitration. That union-backed bill would have taken contract disputes out of his hands, instead letting an arbitrator decide.
In his veto message, Rauner says the legislation would "cede major financial decisions to unelected, unaccountable arbitrators."
The governor has ordered agencies prepare for a strike. Bringing in retired workers and National Guardsmen are among the options reportedly being considered.
Lindall says that last idea is “unthinkable."
“How much more of a chaotic and irresponsible concept could you have than mobilizing citizen soldiers to take the place of child protection workers and nurses in veterans' homes?"
Rauner says his intention is not to force a strike.