Illinois’ debt per student is the 11th highest of any state in the nation. It is almost 15 percent higher than the national average of $8,764.View Report
Since the expiration of AFSCME’s contract with the state of Illinois on July 1, 2015, the union has ignored the state’s financial plight, sticking to its demands and refusing reasonable contract provisions offered by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
AFSCME officials proposed seven tax increases for Cook County as a way to save union jobs, including an increase in the county sales tax, a new head tax and doubling the amusement tax to 6 percent, despite the county’s local tax burden already being among the highest in the nation.
Government workers in Illinois can opt out of union membership, but they still have to pay fees to the union. Those fees are not supposed to go toward political activities, but a close look at AFSCME’s most recent union report demonstrates how unions use fair share fees for activities most people would consider “political.”
AFSCME obstructed progress for months on a new contract for state workers. Whether AFSCME and the state are at impasse in negotiations now sits with the Illinois courts – and the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision not to take a direct appeal of the case means taxpayers must continue to pay an additional $35 million to $40 million each month in health care costs alone.
The highest state worker salaries in the nation, overtime pay, generous state pensions, taxpayer-subsidized health care coverage and free retiree health insurance for career workers combine to give the average Illinois AFSCME worker six-figure annual compensation.
Illinois state government works to prioritize special interests over taxpayers – and the budget deal being negotiated in the Senate would continue that.
AFSCME’s obstruction of a contract for state workers costs taxpayers approximately $35 million to $40 million a month in healthcare costs alone. Gov. Bruce Rauner is seeking a direct appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court to bring relief to taxpayers burdened by AFSCME’s stall tactics.
A spokeswoman for the governor said the measure would cut overtime costs and help reduce the state’s corrections budget.
Through collective bargaining agreements with the state, government-worker unions require access to workers’ social security numbers – even if those workers are not members of the union. A bill protecting worker privacy recently failed to get enough votes to pass out of committee.
In a recent strike-authorization vote, fewer than half of state workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees cast ballots in favor of a strike, despite union leaders’ characterization of the outcome as majority approval.