Unionized state employees could learn today if they'll receive significant back pay. One year ago Governor Pat Quinn cancelled raises for 30-thousand state employees. But the pay bumps were guaranteed to the workers in the state's contract with AFSCME ... the largest public-employee union in Illinois. Quinn and the union have been battling in court over the matter ever since. A Cook County Circuit Court Judge is scheduled to issue his decision today. Anders Lindall is a spokesman for AFSCME. He says public service workers feel under attack in Illinois Not only is there the ongoing pay raise dispute, but lawmakers are also looking to cut state worker pensions:
"It used to be that in this country public service used to be a higher calling. It seems more often today, at least from politicians and pundits, that public servants are the whipping boy."
The governor argues he can't pay the raises because legislators didn't set aside enough money in the budget. Since the governor's order to rescind the raises, one-third of the 30 thousand workers DID get their salary increases, four of the agencies freed up money in their budgets to pay them. An arbitrator previously sided with AFSCME, and the judge could decide today to toss it back to arbitration.
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