Gov. J.B. Pritzker along with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 announced the ratification of the newest AFSCME contract, retroactive to July 1.
PRESS RELEASE from the
ILLINOIS POLICY INSTITUTE
CONTACT: Melanie Krakauer (312) 607-4977
AFSCME ratifies new contract with 19% wage increases
CHICAGO (July 25, 2023) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker along with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 announced the ratification of the newest AFSCME contract, retroactive to July 1.
The contract includes 19.28% pay raises over four years with an annual average increase of 4.51%. It also has virtually no increase in the employees’ share of health insurance premiums and gives them $1,200 stipends for ratifying the contract.
Original Illinois Policy Institute analysis found annual increases this high have been practically unheard of in the private sector during the past decade. Illinois’ average private-sector weekly earnings grew 2.9% annually from 2012 to 2022, and 4.2% annually from 2018 to 2022.
Pritzker has estimated wage increases and stipends will cost taxpayers $625 million over four years, with $204 million in 2023 alone. No cost estimates were provided for health insurance or for new provisions for paternity leave and additional hiring contained in the contract.
Analysis of the contract finds:
- Total raises are 61% higher than the previous AFSCME contract, and annual raises are 37% higher.
- This is the second AFSCME contract negotiated by Pritzker to include stipends. When he settled the prior 2015-2023 contract, he stated stipend were warranted because of the financial hardships of going without an agreement under former Gov. Bruce Rauner.
- AFSCME contracts negotiated under Pritzker have collectively handed out 33.6% raises to employees.
Fast facts on AFSCME Council 31:
- Since 2017, the union has lost over 12,000 members and fee payers.
- AFSCME Council 31 claims it represents “more than 90,000” state and local workers in Illinois. But it self-reports only 53,013 are members, which means 41% of the workers covered by the contracts AFSCME negotiates have chosen not to be members.
- Just 21% of AFSCME Council 31’s spending in 2022 was on “representational activities.” The rest of the union funds were spent on administration, politics and other union leadership priorities. The union spent more than $1.7 million on political activities and lobbying.
“This is AFSCME’s largest contract to date and while Pritzker said the contract was taken into account in the current state budget, taxpayers are going to be on the hook for big increases in costs in coming years,” said Bryce HIll, director of fiscal and economic research at the Illinois Policy Institute. “The state already underfunded its pension payment by contributing $4 billion less than the actuarially required amount, which will bring the budget out of balance.”
“Despite hefty raises in the contract, workers represented by AFSCME aren’t happy with the union and are leaving,” said Mailee Smith, senior director of labor policy and staff attorney at the Illinois Policy Institute. “Poor spending and lack of accountability could be one reason. But AFSCME workers are also taxpayers and they are likely experiencing first-hand how costly government contracts are leading to tax hikes in Illinois.”
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