Not even a month after the Illinois Labor Relations Board threw out the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees’ unfair labor practice claim against the governor, one lawmakers is trying, again, to inject binding arbitration typically reserved to emergency first responders.
Just last month the ILRB ruled against AFSCME’s claim that the Rauner administration’s online posting about the effects of a strike on state worker benefits was an unfair labor practice.
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Meanwhile Friday Governor Bruce Rauner announced he’s looking to get another round of rulings from the ILRB.
The governor’s office says Friday’s request seeks the labor board to answer: Whether the parties are at impasse; Whether they have been negotiating in good faith; Whether the governor has presented a reasonable last, best, and final offer; Whether that offer can be implemented.
Republican Representative Ron Sandack says sometimes there are disputes and disagreements but that doesn't mean there are bad actors in the mix. Sandack also says getting the ILRB involved will give a new set of eyes to the negotiations and could ensure the best outcome for taxpayers.
However, Democratic State Representative Mike Smiddy says his House Bill 580, similar to the binding arbitration bill lawmakers failed to override a veto of last summer, is needed now because of the governor’s request to the ILRB.
Smiddy’s bill would allow either side of negotiations to declare impasse which would trigger an binding arbitration process similar to the process granted emergency first responders and prison guards, preventing a lockout or strike.
But the Rauner administration say there’s already a process to settle disputes between the state and AFSCME laid out in recent tolling agreements between the state and the union. The governor’s office says it’s up to the labor board to determine whether the administration’s plea is valid and whether the next step is a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Rauner has said he will not lock out employees while the union has said the governor is trying to force a strike.