AFSCME members have spent the last few weeks voting on whether to authorize what could be the first-ever state worker strike in Illinois history. Even if members vote to authorize a strike, it doesn’t mean a strike is imminent – nor does it mean that the majority of state workers want to strike.
Despite the fact that the average AFSCME worker makes over $100,000 a year in total compensation, the union has made health care, salary and benefit demands that are out of line with what Illinois taxpayers can afford and would aggravate the state’s financial crisis.
The union representing state workers is currently holding a strike authorization vote. Understanding whom AFSCME represents better equips taxpayers in evaluating AFSCME’s demands and whether a strike is reasonable.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is seeking a court order to stop paychecks to state employees. Many speculate she is trying to force the General Assembly into a budget deal – one that would be bad for Illinoisans. But the General Assembly doesn’t have to be bullied into a bad budget deal. It can pass an appropriations measure to fund state worker payrolls and keep government from shutting down.
Illinois law provides state workers a right to strike – but only if a strike is legal. State workers represented by AFSCME can go on strike only if the union and the state are at impasse in contract negotiations – and AFSCME claims they are not.
As an AFSCME strike looms on the horizon, many are questioning how a strike would affect state workers and Illinois residents. While a potential strike should have minimal impact on residents, AFSCME members have much more to lose.