The union that represents 250 paralegals and clerical workers who work for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has authorized a strike. They're members of the Illinois Federation of Public Employees, which has spent a year in contract talks with Madigan's office. The union says 88 percent voted to authorize a strike if negotiations fail. Most of the workers are in Chicago, while almost 80 work in Springfield and a dozen are at other locations. The union is asking for a one-time stipend instead of a salary increase, and a spokeswoman argues money from recent settlements reached by the AG's office should be used to cover the stipend. Madigan spokeswoman Natalie Bauer, however, calls the strike threat "outrageous and unrealistic" given the state's tight budget. Negotiations are scheduled to continue Friday.
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