A state government worker strike is a "real possibility" in Illinois, according to one union leader. Henry Bayer with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says contract talks are at a standstill with Governor Pat Quinn's administration. Main sticking points are over salaries and health care. Bayer says the union remains without a deal since the Governor terminated the previous contract last fall:
"You know we've been negotiating contracts with governors going back to the middle 70's. We've always been able to settle those contracts without a strike. but it appears from the posture this administration has taken that perhaps they would like to provoke a strike."
A memo published recently in the media gave instructions to union members on preparing for a strike. The memo recommended employees avoid major purchases, and that they go to the doctor and get prescriptions filled in advance. Bayer says his members would have to approve a strike and give a five day notice to the state before a walkout could occur. The Governor's office says it continues trying to reach agreement on a contract fair to all sides.
AFSCME represents nearly 40-thousand workers in various parts of government. Not everyone could walk off the job. For example, prison guards would have to keep working.
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