December 18, 2017

Court blocks layoffs of 155 Cook County Circuit Court employees

Due to a lawsuit brought by Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans, all  layoffs slated for his office are halted—for now.

Evans filed a lawsuit on November 30 against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, seeking a halt to 155 layoffs in his office. On December 5 a judge temporarily blocked those layoffs, and on December 13 he extended that temporary restraining order (TRO) until the Jan. 4 hearing on the case concludes.

The county board voted to move forward with 321 layoffs to fill a $200 million budget hole after it repealed the controversial pop tax.

AFSCME’s vigorous grassroots lobbying effort helped to reduce the number of AFSCME members who will be laid off by more than 100, but it was impossible to prevent all layoffs with no new revenue.

Chief Judge Evans is arguing that cuts to his office are simply too deep to sustain. But since Evans does not have a proposal for how to close the county’s gaping budget hole, the only alternative he has put forth to the layoffs is for employees to each take twenty furlough days. AFSCME is opposed to that plan and continues to press Cook County leaders to raise the revenue needed.

The hearing on this issue begins on January 4. The TRO—stopping any layoffs—is in place until the conclusion of that hearing.

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