State employees who expected to get the raises they have been waiting for since 2011 will have to wait some more. On Thursday the Illinois Supreme Court ruled the raises are subject to appropriation.
The high court wrote that the 2 percent raise in question was part of a more than 15 percent raise found in a four-year contract covering employees from 2008 to 2012.
The court said because of declining state revenues due to the Great Recession, agreements were made between the state and union to defer some of the raises in place of layoffs.
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However, the crux of the case came down to the lack of appropriation from the Illinois General Assembly to cover the raises, the court said. That led to the high court reversing lower court decisions to pay the raises.
The state’s largest employees union says the next step to get raises for 24,000 workers is to have lawmakers appropriate funds to cover the promised increased pay.
AFSCME Council 31 President Roberta Lynch said in a statement that the union is disappointed, and 24,000 state employees from five different agencies are owed on average $2,500 each. The back pay is the state’s oldest unpaid bill, she said.
Lynch called on state leaders to resolve the problem. “We urge lawmakers of both parties, the governor and the comptroller to support an appropriation that pays workers what they are owed for work they performed nearly five years ago.”