A state government workers’ strike is a “real possibility” in Illinois, according to one union leader. Henry Bayer with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says contract talks are at a standstill with Governor Pat Quinn’s administration. Main sticking points are over salaries and health care. Bayer says the union remains without a deal since the Governor terminated the previous contract last fall.
BAYER “You know we’ve been negotiating contracts with governors going back to the middle 70’s. We’ve always been able to settle those contracts without a strike. but it appears from the posture this administration has taken that perhaps they would like to provoke a strike.”
A memo published recently in the media gave instructions to union members on preparing for a strike. The memo recommended employees avoid major purchases, and that they go to the doctor and get prescriptions filled in advance. Bayer says his members would have to approve a strike and give a five day notice to the state before a walkout could occur.
The Governor’s office says it continues trying to reach agreement on a contract fair to all sides.
AFSCME represents nearly 40-thousand workers in various parts of government. Not everyone could walk off the job. For example, prison guards would have to keep working.
Hear our interview with Henry Bayer: Hear mp3