Judge: State, AFSCME Should Continue Talks Over Wages, Health Benefits

 
In this June 9, 2015 photo, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees protest outside the in Chicago.

In this June 9, 2015 photo, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees protest outside the in Chicago.

Christian K. Lee/Associated Press

A judge is encouraging Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration to keep bargaining its contract with the state’s largest government union. Attorneys for Governor Rauner have argued the union representing thousands of state government employees is making unrealistic demands in contract negotiations.

Rauner’s attorneys are asking the state’s labor board to declare negotiations at an impasse, which - could potentially lead to a strike of state workers. Talks between the two sides came to a halt in January.

A judge tasked with looking at negotiations found some issues where there is an impasse.  But the rest, the two sides should keep negotiating.

Anders Lindall with the union - AFSCME - says the two sides have already lost 8 months while Rauner pursued an impasse.

"That’s time that could’ve been spent doing the hard work of compromise," he said.

According to the State Journal-Register, Adminstrative Law Judge Sarah Kerley said the state could implement a number of other contract provisions, like dealing with subcontracting, vacation, and holiday scheduling. 

A Rauner spokeswoman says the judge’s decision shows they’ve been negotiating in good faith.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio