News Local/State

State’s Largest Public Employee Union Says Rauner Administration Broke Off Contract Talks


Some 36,000 state employees are represented by AFSCME, Illinois' largest public employee union. On Friday, the union says Governor Bruce Rauner has walked away from contract talks.

It was clear early on that Rauner, a Republican, was no fan of the union, once dubbing it "AFSCsammy."

That disdain is two-sided; AFSCME did all it could to prevent Rauner from getting elected.

So it's not surprising Rauner and AFSCME were unable to reach a deal on a new contract before the last one expired in July.

Now it's reached a breaking point. AFSCME says Rauner has done something that's never happened in Illinois, and attempted to declare an impasse.

In a press release, AFSCME director Roberta Lynch says while there are serious disagreements, there is no impasse. She says if Rauner won't return to the table, AFSCME will take him to court.

Rauner's spokesman says the governor's evaluating options. He says after one year there's been no meaningful progress, and AFSCME's rejected its offers.

The governor is trying to freeze wages, increase health insurance premiums and make it easier to privatize state services.