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AFL-CIO Now

Back to the Bargaining Table, Labor Leaders Tell Gov. Quinn

This post is from the Chicago Federation of Labor.

Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan and Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez are calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to reverse his decision to terminate the union contract that covers some 35,000 state workers.

“State employees are on the frontlines every day preserving public safety, safeguarding children and assisting families, caring for aging veterans, responding to disasters, and protecting our environment,” Carrigan said.  “Gov. Quinn’s effort to undermine their collective bargaining rights is unwarranted and virtually unprecedented in Illinois government. 

Last week Quinn’s administration terminated state government’s contract with its largest union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31. AFSCME has been in negotiations with the administration for more than 10 months over a new collective bargaining agreement. 

“Gov. Quinn’s action in terminating the AFSCME contract is inconsistent with the principles of collective bargaining,” Ramirez said.  “We cannot understand why our governor, who has stood with organized labor in the past, would be so eager to undermine our brothers and sisters.”                  

Carrigan said that Quinn’s attempt to portray state employees as overpaid is an affront to all Illinois workers who have sacrificed and strived to make it into the middle class.  “The governor’s effort to drive down the wage levels of Illinois workers will hurt the economy of our state in the long run,” he added. “I know that AFSCME members are keenly aware of the state’s fiscal woes. They have already taken unpaid furlough days, deferred wage increases and more to save the state over $400 million,”

“Instead of seeking confrontation, Gov. Quinn should work with state employees,” said Ramirez.  “We urge him to reverse course, return to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith to reach a settlement that is fair to all.”

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