August 25, 2023

Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal editorial attacking the AFSCME State Contract

After AFSCME members in state government ratified their new contract, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial which attacks the gains made as "overly generous." 

Here are a few excerpts from the editorial. 

"The contract covers the next four years and gives 35,000 public workers 19.28% raises, outpacing the growth in private wages. That’s more than the Teamsters are getting for tenured drivers in their rich new deal from United Parcel Service, and that’s merely the increase in Afscme base pay. Many workers will get more pay increases based on job tenure."

"The contract also includes a $1,200 “stipend” to every worker merely for ratifying the contract. Mr. Pritzker included these bonuses in his last contract negotiation in 2019, supposedly to compensate workers for the financial 'hardship' of being a state worker under previous Governor Bruce Rauner. (Remember when a Governor tried to represent taxpayers?) The unions liked the sweetener, so now it has become an expected fillip…"

"Afscme workers already have health-insurance plans that rarely exist in the private economy, and the new four-year contract promises that workers will have zero increases in premiums in the first year, a $10 a month increase in the second year and $8 a month in the third and fourth years. That’s a mere $26 a month over four years. Guess who will pay the difference as the cost of health insurance rises far faster…"

Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch and AFSCME International President Lee Saunders published this rebuttal setting the record straight.

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