March 04, 2016

Calls needed to push for override of HB 580 veto

AFSCME locals across the state are urging their district representatives to support House Bill 580, the fair arbitration bill, after it was vetoed by Gov. Rauner on May 16. The bill, which passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, extends to all state employees the option of an impartial arbitrator to resolve contract disputes between the Rauner Administration and any union representing state workers. The same fair arbitration procedures have been in use for more than 30 years for more than 10,000 Illinois state employees including state troopers and correctional officers, and for local police, fire and emergency personnel.

The Illinois Senate approved HB 580 on a vote of 38-17 on March 4 after the House of Representatives approved it in a 67-46-2 vote on February 16. The House vote did not represent a veto-proof majority, so it is critical that we turn up the heat on state representatives who have not agreed to support this important legislation and override the governor's veto.

Call your state representative and urge him or her to support public services and override Rauner's veto of HB 580. Call 888-912-5959 or use the AFSCME click-to-call tool to take action.

"The Rauner Administration walked away from bargaining with AFSCME and has refused to negotiate for the past two months,” said Roberta Lynch, executive director AFSCME Council 31. “Instead the administration is trying to impose its demands on tens of thousands of public-service workers who care for veterans, respond to emergencies, protect kids and more.”

As a candidate, Governor Rauner vowed to shut down state government and force workers out on strike in order to get his way. Last month he walked away from negotiations with state government’s largest union, AFSCME, breaking the pledge he made to lawmakers last summer that he would continue to negotiate. Instead he is seeking the power to impose his own terms without further negotiations. Public service workers in state government would be forced to accept those terms or go on strike.

“The best course for ending conflict and addressing the deepening crisis in state government,” said Lynch, “is for the Rauner Administration to return to the bargaining table with AFSCME and to work constructively toward compromise with us and all unions.

“Unfortunately, the administration is pursuing a very different path. That’s why the labor movement is supporting the fair arbitration bill, House Bill 580, which now appears to be the only option to assure a reasonable and peaceful path forward. HB 580 ensures working people are treated fairly and public services are not disrupted by either bringing the governor back to the bargaining table or allowing resolution through a neutral third party.”

The governor is seeking to force state employees to pay double their current cost to keep their health care while getting zero pay increase for four years. He would also wipe out existing protections against irresponsible privatization and institute a program of bonuses that opens the door to cronyism and favoritism in state government.

The legislation affects more than 70,000 state employees represented by seven unions, including child protection investigators, caregivers for veterans, state parks employees, nurses, and home care and child care workers.

Call your state legislators now at 888-912-5959 or use the AFSCME click-to-call tool to take action.

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