News Local/State

Contract Talks Stalled Between AFSCME And Gov. Rauner


Illinois lawmakers are once again considering an intervention in state labor negotiations.  Contract talks have stalled between Illinois' biggest government labor union -- AFSCME -- and Governor Bruce Rauner.

Rauner wants the state Labor Relations Board to decide whether negotiations are at an impasse; the union says that’s premature.

Under legislation approved by a House committee Thursday, such failed negotiations would be resolved by an arbitrator on whom both sides agree.

AFSCME says it’s willing to give up its right to strike to get that change. 

But union official Mike Newman says a strike is what Rauner seems to want.

"Less than a month ago, the governor boasted that if there's a strike, we'll win. And boast - I don't use that word lightly - that if there's a strike, we will win," she said.

Rauner vetoed a similar proposal last year, calling it the worst piece of legislation he had ever seen.

Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) says he's concerned the legislation would diminish the governor's power.

"It does disturb me that we seem to have no regard to the taxpayer," she said.  "And it also seems we have no regard for the people who generally pass appropriation bills and that's the General Assembly. "

AFSCME's contract with the state expired last summer.