Illinois’ taxpayers are paying for state government worker benefits they can’t expect to find for themselves in the private sector.

The Illinois Policy Institute analyzed the contract between the state and AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Council 31 that expired at the end of June 2015, and highlighted overtime that kicks in after 37.5 work hours a week and 13 paid vacation days a year. 

Heritage Foundation Labor Economics Research Fellow James Sherk said the generous contract hits taxpayers’ pocketbooks.
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Sherk said taxpayers “for the most part are paid less than government employees, are being overtaxed--paying more in sales taxes and property taxes and income taxes--to pay a higher standard of living to government employees than they themselves enjoy.”

The most egregious policy Sherk said he saw from the report is allowing 10 unauthorized absences over a two-year period without penalty. Sherk said that’s not fair to taxpayers who have no choice when it comes to government services.

“If you go to a grocery store and some of the employees have not showed up so the shelfs haven’t been stocked, you can go to a competing grocery store,” Sherk said. “But with these government agencies, the government has a monopoly. If the government employees aren’t there doing their work, the public simply doesn’t get served.”

Sherk said with that monopoly the government has a duty to ensure the job gets done and the various highlighted contract provisions make that more difficult. 

AFSCME Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall declined to speak about the issues raised in the report.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Labor Relations Board is reviewing whether the state and AFSCME are at an impasse in contract negotiations. 

The Illinois Radio Network is an independent project of the Illinois Policy Institute.
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