Members of AFSCME, the biggest labor union representing Illinois state workers, have taken a big step toward a possible strike.
AFSCME has been fighting with Gov. Bruce Rauner for more than two years. Rauner says they’ve come to an impasse, and has moved to impose his terms, which include more costly health care and a wage freeze, coupled with the opportunity for merit bonuses.
Meanwhile, AFSCME Director Roberta Lynch says the strike option was approved with 81 percent support.
“And I think for the first time, people could really feel … I demand respect, I deserve respect," Lynch said. "That’s the message that I think this vote sends most clearly.”
A strike is not guaranteed. AFSCME says it hopes Rauner will resume negotiating.
Rauner, however, says after 67 failed bargaining sessions, it’s time to implement the contract.