Illinois Lawmakers Call On Governor To Negotiate With State's Largest Union

Nov 30, 2016

Dozens of state legislators Wednesday publicly called on Governor Bruce Rauner to negotiate with the state's largest public-employee union.

But Rauner has already started taking advantage of his ability to implement new contract terms without AFSCME's approval.

A state labor board recently found Rauner was fine to have broken off talks with AFSCME last January, because the two sides were so far apart.

The union plans to fight that decision in court, but otherwise, most state employees are faced with accepting Rauner's terms, or going on strike.

Democratic Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill says he and other legislators prefer another option: the governor resuming negotiations himself.

"He sold himself to the people of the state as a business leader that can negotiate deals, that can solve difficult problems,” Manar said.

A strike would affect more than just AFSCME members. It could wreak havoc on a wide variety of state services.

Rauner doesn't appear phased; his office says AFSCME had its chances during the 67 negotiating sessions that led to the impasse.