Largest State-Employee Union Sues Governor Over Unilateral Contract Changes

Dec 1, 2016

The union that’s representing 30,000 Illinois workers is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Credit AFSCME31.ORG

AFSCME filed a lawsuit late Wednesday in Saint Clair County Circuit Court.

Spokesman Anders Lindall says Rauner is starting to implement a new state contract before the law allows.

"Those demands include four years with no pay increase, a 100-percent hike in what workers now pay for health insurance,” Lindall said. "The combination of those two is a big, effective pay cut."

A ruling by the state labor board recently gave Rauner the right to implement his terms unilaterally.

But Lindall says the governor must wait until the board takes further, official action before he can do that.

The lawsuit asks that Rauner’s decision be halted until then; Lindall says it's important because, once changes are implemented, they're hard to undo.

In a statement, Rauner's office says the lawsuit is without merit. He cites other changes, like bonuses for workers with good attendance, and more generous bereavement leave, as common sense. 

AFSCME is expected to file another lawsuit later, asking to toss out the labor board's entire ruling.