Forty-thousand state employees will show up for work today without a contract. Yesterday Governor Pat Quinn took the unprecedented step of terminating Illinois' contract with the state's largest public employees union, AFSCME. The contract expired in June, but the two sides agreed to multiple extensions as they negotiated over a new one. In a statement, Quinn's assistant budget director says the state has made "significant efforts to compromise," but says AFSCME is refusing to recognize Illinois' fiscal crisis. He says terminating the contract is an attempt to force progress. The union sees it differently. AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says it's an extreme step:
"By doing so Pat Quinn's actions are sure to deepen the frustration of the men and women who do the real work of state government. Pat Quinn is provoking instability in the workplace. And Pat Quinn is making it harder to reach that fair contract."
AFSCME and the state are scheduled to resume negotiations December 11th. This is only the latest in a series of battles between the union and Quinn. AFSCME says the governor's unfairly punishing hard-working employees as he attempts to save money through budget cuts, facility closures, and a pension overhaul.
Support Your Public Radio Station