Chicago Sun-Times
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State's top union leaders ask gov: Why are you trying to "undermine our brothers and sisters"?

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SPRINGFIELD-Two of organized labor's biggest guns in Illinois took aim at Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday, calling on him to rescind his decision to terminate the contract that applies to about 40,000 state employees.
"We cannot understand why our governor, who has stood with organized labor in the past, would be so eager to undermine our brothers and sisters," said Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor.
Ramirez was joined in calling out Quinn by Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan.
"State employees are on the frontlines every day preserving public safety, safeguarding children and assisting families, caring for aging veterans, responding to disasters, and protecting our environment," Carrigan said in a prepared statement.
"Gov. Quinn's effort to undermine their collective bargaining rights is unwarranted and virtually unprecedented in Illinois government," Carrigan said.
Quinn's administration refused last week to extend its contract with 40,000 state workers as talks with labor on a new contract seem to have run aground.
The maneuver by the governor, which didn't threaten an immediate interruption to state services, represents the latest sign of strain between the administration and AFSCME Council 31 as both sides negotiate a new state contract to replace the one whose term expired last June. Both sides had agreed to extend terms of that contract while talks continued.
The Illinois House on Wednesday entered the fray, passing a resolution sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) that urged Quinn's administration not to grant any raises to unionized state workers.
"This is simply a message to those engaged in bargaining," Madigan said of his resolution, which passed 84-29. "We're simply telling the negotiators, don't be sending us a bill for a significant increase or any increase when we're in the process of reducing every other aspect of state government."
An unresolved legal battle already exists between AFSCME and Quinn's administration over the last union deal in which the governor promised but reneged on pay increases, saying no money was appropriated by the Legislature to fund the raises.

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2 Comments

Mr. Madigan, why aren't you putting a stop to all raises in Illinois? The Guv gave his "assistant/spokesperson" a $50,000.00 raise earlier this year because she took on another assignment. Why didn't you stop that? State employees have been doing 2-3 even 4 jobs of others as they retire and the Guvs budget team will not fill the entry level positions. Yet they won't hesitate to fill top positions. Tell the citizens of Illinois the truth, quit trying to sugar coat things. What is good for one in this state is not good for all!!

Sure he stands with organized labor until he realizes he can't hide the back wages he owes most of the state employees. I work with hundreds of state employees and it's not the first time some of us went through a pay freeze but at least the state paid what they promised. The state retirement is the biggest problem, the government took money from our retirement fund and spent it on something else; like pay raises for themselves. Then borrowed to pay it back but swindled that money also. I have been working for the state for almost 30 years and would like to retire.By the way those who don't think we pay towards our retirement are misguided, currently i average 1,200.00 a month.

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