Negotiations between the governor and the state's largest public employee union are getting hot – and public.
The governor slammed the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) during a news conference as he implored lawmakers to uphold his veto of Senate Bill 1229 – which would effectively take the governor out of contract negotiations when the two sides don't agree and send disputes straight to arbitration.
But Rauner says there's at least one thing he won't do.
“If I wanted to do a lockout of AFSCME, I would have already done it. I have absolutely no interest,” Rauner says. “I've said it publicly and right here, put it in writing: no lockout.”
What about a strike?
“I do not want that but I don't control that,” Rauner says.
Rauner claims union demands on salary and benefits are unreasonable, but an AFSCME spokesman disputes that.
“His claims are false,” says AFSCME Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall. “On pay, we want only to keep up with the rising cost of living. On health care, we think health care should stay affordable for workers, their families and retirees – whereas he’s demanding a 500% increase in what workers and retirees have to pay.”
The two sides are not close to a deal.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) says his chamber has enough votes to override the governor's veto, and will likely do so once the Senate takes it up next week.