Rauner, AFSCME Extend July Deadline For Contract
Tuesday is "deadline day" for state government. But one deadline is being given a month-long extension.
June 30th is the final day of the fiscal year; after which, the current budget expires. It's also the final day of the state's contract with its largest public employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Gov. Bruce Rauner and the union have met at the bargaining table, but AFSCME leadership has described the two sides are far apart.
That -- combined with statements Rauner made before he was governor in which he said he'd be willing to let government shut down -- have raised the specter of a lockout. Not in July.
A joint statement released Thursday evening by Rauner's office and AFSCME says they've agreed to extend the current contract for one month.
"That allows both sides to continue to negotiate during July without the threat of disruption to the public services that union members provide," said AFSCME's Anders Lindall.
What happens come August if there's no agreement? That's something else they'll have to negotiate.
"We have said for our part that the union is committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to all. We've always been able to do that in the past. We're totally committed both to providing public service and to reaching a fair agreement, " Lindall added.
According to reports and leaked memos, AFSCME is asking for pay raises and better health benefits... while Rauner's demands include a wage freeze, requiring employees pay more for health care, and a new structure that allows for bonuses. Rauner reportedly also wants the state to no longer have to collect workers' union fees.
Joint Statement from Jason Barclay, General Counsel to the Governor, and from Mike Newman, Deputy Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (“AFSCME Council 31”):
“Today AFSCME Council 31 and the Governor’s Office reached an agreement that precludes the possibility of a strike or lockout for a one-month period after the state’s collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME Council 31 expires on June 30. This agreement preserves all legal and contractual rights of the parties as of the contract expiration date. More importantly, it allows both sides to continue to negotiate during the month of July without the threat of disruption to important public services.”