New Legislation Would Cap Labor Wage Increases

Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.

Last week House Speaker Madigan introduced a resolution (HJR 45) which would cap the wage increases negotiated between the Governor and public sector employee unions. It would also exclude the number of employees as a subject for negotiations.

Traditionally, the Governor negotiates new collective bargaining agreements with the public employee unions and sends the final version to the General Assembly to be rubber-stamped. The contract last year with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) continued a trend of large cost of living adjustments and limited any facility closures or reduction in employees.

Madigan stated that bargaining is critical to a balanced budget so the legislature can sit on the sidelines or let its will be known. The cost of living allowance for employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has averaged an increase of 4.25 percent over the past five fiscal years. The consumer price index, on the other hand, has averaged an increase of 1.95 percent per year since 2007.

This new proposal would set a limit – currently undefined – for the amount of wage increases that can be included in any new union contract. Negotiations will open this fall for the 2012 contract with AFSCME members.

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Robert W. Pritchard (R-Hinckley) is the Illinois State Representative for the 70th district, serving the residents in portions of DeKalb, Boone, and Kane Counties. Bob has been serving in the Illinois House since 2003. Pritchard, affectionately known as Bob, has been serving in the Illinois House since 2003. Biography Bob was born February 2, 1945. He grew up on a farm outside Hinckley, Illinois where growing corn and soybeans instilled in him hard work and a sense of dedication. Bob and his family continue to their hard work by farming. He is married to his wife Mary, Associate Dean at Northern Illinois University, and has two grown sons, Matthew and Gregory. Education Bob majored in communications from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) earning both his bachelors and masters degree. Bob’s passion for farming and his education in communication gave him the unique opportunity to enjoy working in both fields. Professional Life Beginning as a Radio and TV broadcaster for a local area stations, Bob delivered the farming updates and local weather reports. Bob took advantage of his skills and has worked for universities as well as filled marketing, public relations, and community relation roles at DeKalb Genetics Corporation and Monsanto. Community Leader Before becoming a member of the Illinois House of Representatives Bob was an energetic and busy contributor to the communities of DeKalb County. Getting his hands dirty in all parts of local government, Bob served on the Hinckley-Big Rock Board of Education. Bob was never far from his roots in the farming community, and was elected to a leadership position for the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. He also served as chairman for the DeKalb County Board. Legislative History Bob has diligently worked for the betterment on a wide gamut of issues from early childhood and education, healthcare, conservation and the environment, job creation, and protecting the manufacturing industry. The values of hard work and dedication that were instilled in Bob from his years of farming are reflected in his mentality of representing his constituents.

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