Gov. Bruce Rauner has reached yet another contract agreement with a government-worker union in Illinois – further debunking claims by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that the governor’s administration is not dealing fairly with state employees.
On Dec. 30, Rauner’s office announced a new contract with the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, which represents Illinois conservation police officers. The contract includes a four-year wage freeze and ensures that no conservation police officers will be laid off.
In the meantime, AFSCME is doing all it can to stall implementation of a fair contract for the approximately 35,000 state workers it represents. AFSCME’s most recent stall tactics include asking courts to temporarily stop the state from putting its contract offer into effect, despite the ruling of the Illinois Labor Relations Board, or ILRB, that the state could do just that. AFSCME’s obstruction is costing taxpayers an additional $2 million for each day the contract is not in place.
But while AFSCME pushes for provisions that will cost the state an additional $3 billion in wage and benefit increases, 20 other government-worker unions have now agreed to cost-saving provisions in contracts with the state.
In September 2016, an administrative law judge with the ILRB explained that the state had successfully negotiated contracts with 19 unions representing various state employees. Specifically, the state had negotiated agreements with the following unions:
- Teamsters Local 916
- Teamsters Local 700
- Teamsters Downstate
- Local #330 General Chauffeurs, Sales Drivers and Helpers
- Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
- Illinois Federation of Teachers Local #919
- International Union of United Food and Commercial Workers
- United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of USA and Canada
- Carpenters and Joiners of America
- Laborers’ International Union of North America
- International Brotherhood of Boilermakers – Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers
- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
- International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail & Transportation Workers
- International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers
- Service Employees International Union Local 1
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- International Union of Operating Engineers
- Teamsters Local 700 – ISP Master Sergeants
- Illinois Union of Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers
Testimony before the administrative law judge revealed that these contracts included provisions similar to those offered to – and rejected by – AFSCME.
For example, the Teamsters and the Illinois Federation of Teachers agreed to temporary four-year wage freezes. Among other provisions, each of the 19 contracts included merit pay. None of the contracts provided overtime pay for working less than 40 hours in a week. And for those state workers receiving insurance under the State Employees Group Insurance Act, none of the contracts included health insurance benefits different from those the state proposed to AFSCME.
Rauner’s success in negotiating contracts with 20 government-worker unions demonstrates that it is AFSCME – not the governor – that has stymied negotiations. The union’s refusal to budge on its unreasonable demands led the ILRB to determine that the parties are at an impasse in contract negotiations, and that the governor could implement his last, best and final offer to AFSCME.
It’s time for AFSCME to respect state taxpayers, drop its campaign to delay the contract through the courts, and accept the governor’s offer.