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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Fate Of Labor Unions Still In Limbo

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Despite unions getting a small victory yesterday in the Illinois House -- state workers' future salaries, benefits and even a potential strike still remain in limbo.

After hours of debate, labor got its desired result: passage of legislation that would solve collective bargaining disputes by way of arbitration.  

Its supporters say it'd also do something even more important: prevent a government shutdown. The bill says Gov. Bruce Rauner can't lock out workers, and workers can't strike.

Rep. Chris Welch, a Hillside Democrat, is the sponsor.

"Let's keep state government open. Let's keep state government moving efficiently. And let's keep the parties at the table,” Welch said.

That's timely: after a year of negotiations with the state's largest public employees union, AFSCME, Rauner says the two sides are so far apart, he wants to end talks.

If he's allowed to do that, AFSCME could be forced to accept Rauner's offer – terms the union doesn't like -- or else go on strike. 

Labor says workers will get a better, fairer shot with arbitration. 

But Republicans say it's changing the rules of negotiations in the 11th hour, to benefit AFSCME ... at a hefty cost to taxpayers.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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