Labor Board to Determine if Parties at Impasse
SPRINGFIELD – Last week, AFSCME refused to seriously negotiate for the 24th bargaining session in a row on any of the core contract proposals presented by the Rauner Administration.
At the bargaining table, AFSCME made clear that they are unwilling to negotiate any contract similar to the ones agreed to by 17 other labor unions, which in many instances, were ratified by more than 80 percent of union members.
In the press, AFSCME described small changes to their proposal as “a big new offer.” The “big new offer” would end up costing the State billions over the next four years.
In response to AFSCME’s refusal to seriously negotiate, and in accordance with the tolling agreement, the Rauner Administration is now asking the Labor Board to determine whether or not the parties are at an impasse.
“While we have reached innovative and fair contracts with most unions and seen those contracts approved overwhelmingly by union members, AFSCME leadership unfortunately refuses to budge or offer reasonable proposals. We want to reach an agreement with AFSCME members, but their leaders have proven unwilling,” Governor Bruce Rauner said. “Instead of acting reasonable like the state’s other union leaders, AFSCME bosses have said no to merit bonuses, they’ve said no to programs to help minority employees, and they’ve said a 40-hour work week is too long. At a time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, AFSCME is pushing insurance and wage demands that would cost taxpayers more than $3 billion. As a result, we are asking the Labor Board to determine the next steps in the negotiating process.”
AFSCME vehemently rejected the Administration’s proposal to implement merit pay programs similar to ones welcomed by the 5 Teamsters and 12 other Trade Union bargaining units.
AFSCME vehemently rejected the Administration’s proposal that would maintain a 37.5-hour work week, but have overtime rate wages kick in only after completing a 40-hour work week. AFSCME rejected this offer despite the fact it is more generous than the 40-hour work week the Teamsters and Trade Unions ratified. Instead, AFSCME wants to only work 37.5 hours per week and immediately get paid overtime wages for any minute worked over 37.5 hours. They are also demanding double pay for regular holidays and even 2.5x pay for some “super holidays.”
AFSCME vehemently rejected the Administration’s proposal to make it easier to promote minority employees. Other unions welcomed efforts to promote minority employees.
AFSCME vehemently rejected a health insurance proposal that closely mirrors insurance proposals agreed to by the Trade Unions. Instead, AFSCME is demanding insurance that is considered platinum-plus under the Affordable Care Act. They are also demanding taxpayers subsidize over 80% of the cost of these platinum level plans, which is asking to pay silver-level premiums for a platinum-plus plan. Additionally, while the Teamsters agreed to maintain their current wages for the next four years, AFSCME is demanding wage increases that would cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion over the next four years. These demands come after many union members have already seen their salaries double since 2004. Illinois employees are now the third-highest paid in the nation – behind California and New Jersey – and the highest after adjusting for the higher cost of living in those states. Altogether, AFSCME’s wage and insurance demands would cost taxpayers over $3 billion.
Under the signed tolling agreement, the Labor Board must now determine whether the Administration and AFSCME are at impasse. During this time, the parties must adhere to all statutory obligations regarding good faith negotiations while the Labor Board is deciding the case. Quoting from the tolling agreement, this specifically means there can be no “strike, work stoppage, work slowdown, or lockout” until the Labor Board has determined that the parties are at an impasse. The Governor will comply with these and all other obligations regarding good faith negotiations.