Pritzker Doles Out 19% Raises and $1,200 Stipend in Largest AFSCME Contract Ever

Pritzker Doles Out 19% Raises and $1,200 Stipend in Largest AFSCME Contract Ever

Illinois’ largest public employee union, AFSCME Council 31, finalized their second contract with Gov. J.B. Pritzker July 25. New pay raises will cost taxpayers $625 million.

Members of Illinois’ largest public employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, ratified their latest contract with the state of Illinois on July 25.

The agreement implements a 4% increase in base salaries retroactive to July 1 and grants each member an automatic $1,200 stipend. Total base pay will rise 19.28% during the next four years and cost taxpayers an additional $625 million.

Pay increases in the 2023-2027 AFSCME contract far outpace the growth in private sector wages in recent years. In the past decade, average weekly earnings in the private sector have grown at an annual average of 2.9%.

The new AFSCME contract gives state employees average annual raises of 4.5%, raises that are 58% larger than what private sector residents have gotten historically.

Even when examining a narrower window, when wages have been growing at their fastest pace in decades, the latest AFSCME contract will deliver larger pay raises during the next four years  than what private sector residents have received during the last four years, 4.5% versus 4.2%.

On top of large increases in base pay, each state employee will also receive a $1,200 bonus, simply because the contract was ratified. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s previous AFSCME contract also included these types of bonuses, paying each employee up to $2,500 for the “economic hardship” endured during the Rauner years on top of increasing salaries by 12%.

Despite this rhetoric, Illinois state workers have consistently been among the highest paid state employees in the nation, even during the Rauner administration.

Collectively, Pritzker has increased pay of state employees by 33.6% and provided bonuses of up to $3,700 during the two contracts he’s negotiated with AFSCME.

When factoring in additional benefits like longevity pay, taxpayer-subsidized platinum health insurance policies and employer contributions to pension funds, Illinois state workers receive compensation packages that are already $31,206, or 48%, higher than what the average private sector worker receives in Illinois.

As of 2021 – the most recent year available – the average state government employee received compensation of $96,263, while the average private sector worker in Illinois received compensation worth just $65,057. Since 1998, state employee compensation has grown 37% faster than private sector compensation.

As state employee wages continue to far outpace the growth in private sector wages, Illinoisans can expect continued tax increases to pay for these costs. The latest pay raises will add an additional $625 million in costs – including $204 million in 2024 to state budgets according to the Governor’s estimation, which some lawmakers claim was unaccounted for in the state’s most recent budget.

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