May 25, 2018

Rauner fighting “make whole” remedy in steps case

AFSCME is continuing to battle to restore the step increases for state employees that have been frozen since 2015 when Gov. Rauner acted unilaterally to halt movement in the step plan. AFSCME contends that employees should be “made whole” by being placed at the proper step and paid back wages for the steps missed. But the Rauner Administration is trying to convince the Labor Board that there are no funds appropriated to cover the cost for this remedy.

While the issues regarding back pay owed for a negotiated way increase have been fully litigated, the step increase legal fight is still being waged. Once again Rauner is doing everything possible to circumvent state law and block state employees from being paid what they are owed.

In early May the Fifth District Appellate Court remanded AFSCME’s case challenging the Rauner Administration’s refusal to pay steps back to the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) for a remedy. The Appellate Court had found that Rauner was wrong to freeze movement in the state’s step plan and that the ILRB ruled wrongly in denying AFSCME’s Unfair Labor Charge (ULP) against the Administration regarding the freeze. The court overturned the ILRB ruling and directed the Board to develop a remedy that would end the step freeze.

Untiring in his efforts to drive down the income of state workers, Rauner is now arguing at the Labor Board against full restitution for employees—and seeking to drag out the proceedings for as long as possible.

Rauner is pressing for a full hearing on the dispute with at least 60 days allotted for his administration to prepare and present its case against a “make whole” remedy to the Board. AFSCME strongly opposes the governor’s attempt to continue to deprive employees of the wages they have rightfully earned.

The Labor Board will meet again on June 12 when it is expected to make a determination on the Rauner Administration’s request for a lengthy hearing process.

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