Saturday, January 9, 2016

????? State at impasse with AFSCME ?????

*** UPDATED x5 - AFSCME: No bargaining dates were scheduled next week - Rauner points to AFSCME canceling next week’s bargaining - DelGiorno responds - Rauner responds, says no official impasse yet declared *** This just in… AFSCME claims Rauner administration has declared an impasse in negotiations

Friday, Jan 8, 2016

* 3:01 pm: From AFSCME Council 31…

At the wrap-up of today’s negotiating session between AFSCME Council 31 and the Rauner Administration, the Governor’s representatives said they would refuse to participate in any further bargaining sessions and claimed that negotiations are at an impasse. AFSCME executive drector Roberta Lynch rejected that claim and said the union is prepared to continue to negotiate.

Lynch issued the following statement:

“We are shocked that the Rauner Administration would walk away and refuse to continue negotiations. The Governor’s rash action invites confrontation and chaos — it is not the path to a fair agreement. The people of Illinois deserve leadership that is focused on working together and getting things done, not someone who demands his own way or nothing at all. With no state budget to fund the public services that Illinois residents rely on and no union contract for the men and women who provide those services, the last thing the people of Illinois need is another manufactured crisis from a governor unwilling to do the hard work of compromise.

“In reality, there is no impasse between our union and the Rauner Administration. Until the final minutes of today’s meeting, both parties continued to exchange proposals on many issues. There has been no hint that the administration would simply refuse to continue to negotiate. If they will not return to the table, our union will take legal action. It is a violation of state labor law for a party to declare impasse where none exists.

“The parties do have areas of serious disagreement. For example, the administration wants to double employee’s costs for health care, making the state’s health plan the worst in the nation for any state workforce. It would also would freeze wages for four years, which coupled with its huge hikes in health costs would take money from the pockets of working families. Our union believes that public-service workers, like all working people, deserve wages that can sustain a family and health care they can afford. We also disagree with the administration’s insistence on eliminating safeguards that prevent unfettered privatization of public services.

“Despite our differences, AFSCME remains committed to finding common ground. We’ve been successful in reaching fair agreements with every Illinois governor of both parties for the past 40 years. But that can’t happen if the Rauner administration refuses to remain at the table and negotiate.

“As a candidate, Bruce Rauner repeatedly threatened to impose his extreme demands and force a strike in order to do so. That’s why unions representing state employees backed legislation to provide for arbitration as an alternative means of reaching a fair agreement. When the governor vetoed that bill, he pledged to work in good faith to reach a settlement—a pledge he has broken today.

“Public-service workers in state government keep us safe, respond to emergencies, protect kids, care for the most vulnerable and fulfill countless other essential functions in every Illinois community every day. They deserve a governor who respects the work they do and who will work in good faith to reach an agreement that’s fair to all.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** According to the tolling agreement, this matter now goes to the Illinois Labor Relations Board, which will decide whether or not an impasse exists. Click here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Lance Trover…

“Today marked the 67th day of negotiations with AFSCME. Like every previous session, AFSCME rejected all of the Governor’s core proposals and insisted that they would never agree to those proposals despite our good faith efforts to address union concerns.

“In light of that position, our negotiators asked AFSCME if they believed we were at impasse. If so, both parties signed a tolling agreement establishing a Labor Board process by which that determination can be made. AFSCME insists that the parties are not at impasse while rejecting the offer for additional sessions next week.

“After a year of no meaningful progress, we must now evaluate the benefit of future sessions given AFSCME’s intransigence. In light of their answers today, we will now decide if the previously-agreed dispute resolution process should be considered.”

The administration also has a chart which “summarizes the status of the negotiations with AFSCME, while comparing it to its previous contract and the contracts the administration has already reached with 17 other unions representing state employees.” Click here.

…Adding… Re-reading the Trover statement you’ll see that the governor has not yet formally declared an impasse. That’s an important distinction here. The governor now has to decide whether to take this to the ILRB.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Press release…

Democratic State Representative candidate Tony DelGiorno, who is vying for the 99th Illinois House District, issued the following statement and called upon the Governor to return to the bargaining table and lift his unreasonable demands.

    I am disappointed that it has come to this. It has been clear since the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2014 that the Governor has a hatred for public servants and the unions that represent them. One year after his inauguration, we are on the verge of a lockout or a strike – either of which fails to serve the taxpayers of Illinois. This all or nothing politics is not serving the people of Illinois well. Governing is best done when both sides work together to serve the people. No one side has all the answers. I urge the governor to continue working with AFSCME to reach a compromise. Had enough of our representatives had the gumption to override of the Governor’s veto of the union arbitration bill, we would not be in the situation we are today.

Nothing yet from the appointed incumbent, Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Springfield).

*** UPDATE 4 *** The administration notes that AFSCME has canceled next week’s scheduled bargaining session, not the Rauner people, which is significant here.

*** UPDATE 5 *** From AFSCME’s Anders Lindall…

No bargaining dates were scheduled for next week. The administration asked very late if we could meet then but our committee was unavailable. Instead AFSCME offered to meet at any time in any of the following three weeks.

I suggest that you see Illinois Fax for the lastest on this never ending issue regarding a labor impasse.  Click:

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