There's still no state budget, but contract talks continue with the biggest state workers' union.
With a new two-month extension on top of the existing one-month extension, this surely means the sides are moving closer, or one or the other is giving in.
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“It's a tentative, positive step,” says Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME Council 31, which represents 38,000 state employees. “We can continue to meet. It's what our union has said has been our goal all along: to reach a fair agreement with no disruption to public services.”
That said, Lindall said, the two sides remain far apart.
Lindall says he hopes the latest note means the governor's backed off the ideas of recruiting retirees or activating the National Guard to do state workers' jobs.
And right after the extension announcement came word that Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill outlawing public strikes and lockouts and providing for binding arbitration.
From the governor's veto message to Senate Bill 1229:
"Senate Bill 1229 is based on a false premise that our Administration has been unreasonable in labor negotiations and wants to lock-out employees or prompt an employee strike. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have negotiated in good faith with AFSCME since shortly after I took office. We came with our proposals ready on day 1, and we made significant concessions from our initial proposals, including revising our proposals on management rights, dues collection, holidays, subcontracting, layoffs, and employee pensions."