Appellate court puts labor board impasse decision on hold, Rauner cannot impose terms on state workers
The 4th District Appellate Court on March 3 granted AFSCME Council 31’s request to put on hold the state labor board’s impasse decision in contract negotiations between Governor Bruce Rauner and the largest union of public service workers in state government. As a result, until the union's appeal is decided, Governor Rauner cannot impose his terms, which include a 100% increase in employee costs for health care that would cost the average state worker $10,000, and an end to basic safeguards against irresponsible privatization schemes.
The court predicated its ruling on a finding that the union has demonstrated a “reasonable likelihood” of prevailing in its appeal.
“Today’s decision is in the best interest of all the people of Illinois, both public service workers and the millions of citizens who rely on their important work,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “We strongly urge Governor Rauner to join us in the spirit of compromise and return to bargaining in good faith to reach an agreement that is truly fair to all.”
Rauner’s administration broke off talks between the parties in January 2016 and has since refused to meet with the union.
The AFSCME bargaining committee has repeatedly urged the governor to drop his stubborn refusal to compromise and return to negotiations, a call that has been echoed by lawmakers of both parties.
AFSCME two months ago sought to spark renewed dialogue by issuing a framework under which state employees would agree to receive no general wage increases for four years, to pay modestly more for their health insurance, and to continue negotiating over other outstanding issues.
Instead of negotiating in good faith, the Rauner administration has refused to even meet with the union, and instead rushed forward seeking to unilaterally impose its demands on AFSCME members.
Last week AFSCME announced that members had overwhelmingly authorized a strike if no alternative path to a fair contract could be found.