House Stepping Into AFSCME Contract Negotiations

Unionized state employees could have a harder time bargaining for pay raises under a measure that advanced in the Illinois House Tuesday. Brian Mackey has more.

AFSCME, the state’s largest government-employee union, has been in negotiations with Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration for nearly a year. Now the Illinois General Assembly is weighing in.

Lawmakers are considering a resolution that says they won’t pay for wage increases in the first year of a new contract. It would also say unions cannot bargain over reductions in the state workforce. Gov. Quinn has been trying to close several prisons, mental health centers and other facilities — which has led to a massive fight with the union.

Joanna Webb-Gauvin is AFSCME’s legislative director. She says with a 25 percent reduction in the state workforce over the past 10 years, union members are living those financial problems.

WEBB-GAUVIN: “Our members and their salaries did not cause the fiscal crisis, and passing this resolution won’t solve it.”

Webb-Gauvin says the resolution would be an “unwarranted intrusion” on the bargaining process.

The measure still has to pass the full House and Senate before it’s officially adopted.

— Brian Mackey

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