AFSCME: Rauner has declared impasse in contract negotiations
Without a strike fund, AFSCME – which represents 60,000 state workers in Illinois – has avoided a strike. But since the union announced that the governor has walked way from contract talks, a strike could be on the horizon.
Today the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees announced that Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared an impasse in negotiations between the state and the union, which represents around 60,000 Illinois state workers.
The union’s previous agreement with the state, entered under former Gov. Pat Quinn, expired on June 30, 2015. Since then, Rauner and the union have been negotiating a new contract. Meanwhile, the state and the union have entered a “tolling agreement,” under which the state has agreed to keep paying workers their current salaries during negotiations.
If AFSCME doesn’t agree with the governor that an impasse exists – which it appears not to – then the Tolling Agreement requires that the Illinois Labor Relations Board decide whether an impasse actually exists. If the board concludes that there is, in fact, an impasse, then Rauner won’t be bound by the old bargaining agreement or have to keep negotiating with AFSCME.
The next step after that would presumably be a strike by state workers – an event AFSCME has apparently preferred to avoid because it has no strike fund.