Bruce RaunerIllinois’ governor says further negotiations with the state’s largest employees union are no longer worthwhile. That’s why Gov. Bruce Rauner says he’s taking the next step to have the Illinois Labor Relations Board step in and resolve the dispute.


In a letter to state employees Governor Bruce Rauner says because of the state’s fiscal problems, leaner contracts for four years are far better than massive layoffs. The governor says “tightening our belts now is also the responsible approach if we want to ensure the financial stability of our pension system.”


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In a letter to their members, AFSCME Council 31 says the move to bring in the Labor Relations Board is quote “bizarre” and claims information put out by the Rauner administration quote “ranges from inaccurate to untrue.” Meanwhile the Rauner administration says the union is putting out falsehoods and misleading statements and says it’s asking the ILRB to determine if AFSCME has been bargaining in bad faith.


AFSCME says both parties do have areas of serious disagreement but the union representing more than 38,000 members rejects they’re at an impasse.


AFSCME says the governor’s demands would force workers and their families to pay double to keep their health care while getting zero wage increase for four years.


The governor’s administration says the state plans to offer less-costly health plans, but also says if state employees chose a platinum plan there will be a twofold increase to cover the cost.


The governor says the administration has proposed over $200 million in additional compensation in the form of bonuses that every employee would be eligible to receive by meeting some standards like not having unexcused absences and not violating pre-established work rules.


According to a document from the governor’s office, the Labor Relations Board will determine whether the parties are at impasse, whether they’ve been negotiating in good faith, whether the governor has presented a reasonable last, best and final offer and whether that offer can be implemented. Meanwhile the governor’s office renewed its pledge to not lock out employees.


The state and AFSCME are operating under a tolling agreement since their contract expired last summer.


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