June 2, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Springfield, IL – Seven Illinois House Republicans have asked Gov. Bruce Rauner to reopen contract talks with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, the state’s largest public-employee union.
The governor has refused to negotiate since January, when his administration asked the state Labor Relations Board to declare an impasse, which would enable him to impose his last contract offer. The May 27 letter urged Rauner and Council 31 executive director Roberta Lynch to resume talks to reach an agreement “that balanced respect for taxpayers with the needs of our hardworking, dedicated state employees” and “without anyone’s ability to negotiate being taken away by an unelected arbitrator or by imposing an unwelcome contract.” The governor’s office said that it would not negotiate until after the labor board has ruled on the impasse, blaming the union for having “repeatedly rejected” all of the administration’s “core proposals.” Lynch replied that Council 31 “would much prefer to reach a contract… at the bargaining table,” but criticized the seven GOP legislators for voting to sustain Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have sent the talks to binding arbitration. Read more