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Rauner Moves To Declare Impasse On AFSCME Contract Talks


Some 36,000 state employees are members of AFSCME, Illinois' largest public employee union. Friday afternoon, the union announced that Gov. Bruce Rauner made a push to walk away from contract talks.

Some 36,000 state employees are represented by AFSCME, Illinois' largest public employee union. Friday, following the union said Gov. Bruce Rauner has walked away from contract talks.

It was clear early on that Rauner, a Republican, was no fan of the union, once dubbing it "AFSCsammy."

That disdain's two-sided; AFSCME did all it could to prevent Rauner from getting elected.

So it's not surprising Rauner and AFSCME were unable to reach a deal on a new contract before the last one expired in July. Now it's reached a breaking point.

AFSCME says Rauner has done something that's never happened in Illinois, and attempted to declare an impasse.

In a press release, AFSCME director Roberta Lynch says while there are serious disagreements, there is no impasse. She says if Rauner won't return to the table, AFSCME will take him to court. She says Rauner's "rash action invites confrontation and chaos."

Neither side can unilaterally declare an impasse. However, the Rauner administration (or AFSCME) could file a request with the Illinois Labor Relations Board.  As yet, neither side has taken that official action.

Rauner's spokesman says the governor's evaluating options. It says after one year there's been no meaningful progress, and AFSCME's rejected its offers. It says more than a dozen other unions have accepted similar terms (AFSCME says to compare it with trade unions is akin to apples and oranges).

The governor is trying to freeze wages, increase health insurance premiums and make it easier to privatize state services.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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