Rauner, AFSCME play waiting game
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner cannot impose contract terms on the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), so the union has no authorization to strike, a Springfield appellate court has ruled.
The AFSCME voted in favor of a strike on Feb. 23, but the appellate court said it must determine whether the two sides truly are at an impasse, as the Illinois Labor Relations Board ruled last fall. The ruling could take months.
The labor board's decision would have let Rauner impose terms on the union, so the union took its case to the appellate court, which ruled in its favor.
Rauner expressed his frustration at the ongoing situation.
"We've come to agreement on basically the same terms with 20 other government unions," Rauner said. "I think it's very reasonable for overtime to start at 40 hours, not 37 ½. It's very reasonable to have some modest increase in health care costs, given what taxpayers, working families in this state have had happen to their own health care. We're at an impasse. We've been at impasse for a long time. We met 67 times for more than a year and we are clearly at impasse. We should implement our contract."
AFSCME Executive Director Roberta Lynch pointed out that the governor's administration walked away from the bargaining table in January 2016. Although 81 percent of union members voted to authorize a strike, Lynch made it clear that they did not want to strike and were willing to continue negotiations.