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Union 'Positive' House Will Override Veto

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey

A government labor union says it's “positive” the Illinois House will side with it over Gov. Bruce Rauner. A key vote on on whether to override Rauner's veto of a union-backed bill is expected Wednesday.

The legislation would bar unions from striking and prohibit the governor from locking workers out. Instead, if the parties can’t agree on a contract, an arbitrator would decide.

Keith Kelleher is president of the union SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which represents tens of thousands of child care and home healthcare workers. He says his group did not originally support the idea, because it didn’t want to give up the right to strike.

“But since the legislation was introduced, we’ve had several bargaining sessions and interactions with the negotiator from the governor’s office, and it’s gotten worse," Kelleher says.

The unions have been negotiating with the Rauner administration for months, yet they’re said to be far apart.

Rauner says he will not lock out state employees — but that’s a change from much tougher talk when he was a candidate. He says union contract proposals would cost the state too much money.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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