AFSCME, Pritzker Reach Tentative Contract

May 31, 2019

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest labor union representing Illinois state workers, has reached a contract deal with Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration.

It’s been nearly four years since AFSCME’s contract was set to expire. But with the union and former Gov. Bruce Rauner across the bargaining table from each other, the two sides could never come to terms.

There were a range of disagreements, on issues like how much state workers kick in for their health insurance, how easy it is to outsource jobs, and whether to move from a 37.5-hour workweek to one that lasts 40 hours.

The disagreements led Rauner to seek to declare an impasse, so he could impose terms on the members. The union waged a legal fight against that decision, but at one point held a strike authorization vote.

The dynamic seems to have changed with the Pritzker administration.

Both sides released identical statements praising each other and the deal.

AFSCME says the governor understands workers' rights and respects their work; Pritzker says the agreement “treats all taxpayers fairly.”

Neither side is saying what’s in the contract. That will have to wait until after workers have a chance to review and vote on it.

But the budget being considered Friday in the legislature indicates AFSCME members could be collecting more than $600 million dollars in missed pay raises, which Rauner had frozen.