Depending on whom you ask, a bill to allow binding arbitration in public-sector labor negotiations either encourages compromise or short-circuits Gov. Bruce Rauner.
And, in the end, Illinois House Democrats could not count to 71, the number needed to override the governor's veto.
Rauner has called the bill the worst in state history. Supporters say the spectre of arbitration would actually provide an incentive to negotiations.
The bill would also take away the possibility of strikes and lockouts among the groups covered, though Rauner has said he does not favor a lockout.
“It is a political payoff, plain and simple,” said State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard). “It is so corrupt, it would make (imprisoned former Gov.) Rod Blagojevich blush.”
Republicans in attendance voted No or Present or not at all. Democrats voted Yes with the exceptions of State Reps. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) Present, State Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) No, and State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) absent.
House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), pressed by reporters after the vote, would not say much about Dunkin, particularly whether he would face repercussions for his absence.
Madigan called the vote a “significant step” toward the kind of Illinois workforce Rauner wants: one with reduced wages. Rauner, in a news release, praised the lawmakers who voted to uphold his veto.
SB 1229, which needed 71 votes for an override, failed in the House, 68-34-9.