A labor expert says the unions which have reached agreements with the Rauner administration cannot be compared to the others. Victor Devinatz, distinguished professor of management at Illinois State University, says AFSCME Council 31, SEIU Healthcare, and other large unions are not apples-to-apples with, say, the electricians, painters, and carpenters.

The Rauner administration boasts deals with 17 unions covering 5,000 employees. AFSCME alone has 35,000, and a news release points out a “stark contrast” between those who are settled and those who are not.

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“There are many more implications” in addition to the sheer numbers, says Devinatz, particularly because the smaller, skilled trade unions work under different wage and benefit structures than do the others.

“Some believe that due to public sector wages, that's why we have problems with budgets,” Devinatz says, but the workers making more than private-sector counterparts really are only the ones at the lowest end of the skill spectrum.


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