A failed bill that would have allowed for binding arbitration for all state employees is resurrected in the House, a measure the governor says would cost taxpayers billions.
Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 1229 last year and Democrat lawmakers failed to muster enough votes for an override. Rauner said the bill would have taken him out of negotiations and brought in an mediator for binding arbitration.
One of the main sponsors of House Bill 580, Democratic Representative Mike Smiddy, said the bill is the same as Senate Bill 1229 and is important because he says the governor declared impasse in contract talks.
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“Something he claimed he would not do last year,” Smiddy said, “and probably was the reason for the failure of the veto override in September.”
The SB 1229 override passed the Senate but failed in the House with Democrats Scott Drury voting no, Jack Franks voting present and Ken Dunkin absent.
Meanwhile the governor said he can’t declare impasse and the tolling agreement between the union and administration allows for either side to request the Illinois Labor Relations Board to evaluate negotiations and determine if there’s an impasse, something Rauner did last month.
After reviewing negotiations the ILRB could declare impasse and allow the governor to impose his last, best and final offer.
“Which would ultimately, probably, make a work stoppage happen,” Smiddy said.
Governor Rauner said only the union can declare a strike, something he said was the union’s right.
“That is your right and I respect that,” Rauner said, “but I have the right to negotiate on behalf of taxpayers. I have that right. And, frankly, I have that moral duty.”
“I want a fair contract,” Rauner said. “I want our employees treated well, with respect and good compensation and good retirement, but it’s gotta be reasonable for taxpayers.”
HB 580 was amended in the House Labor and Commerce Committee Thursday and now heads to the floor, something that could come up for a vote as early as next week.