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Illinois Municipal League Supports Rauner Proposals

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois

Cities in Illinois want their financial ability to be a factor in labor contract negotiations. Union workers in public safety jobs can collectively bargain, but they can't strike. Disputes are settled by an objective arbitrator.

  Illinois mayors, such as Barrington Mayor Karen Darch, said that arbitrators should look at the "financial realities" facing local governments when making decisions.

"Currently, he does not have to consider the actual financial resources of the community," she said. "So, a 4 percent award when the community can only pay 2 percent is problematic."

The Illinois Municipal League is also asking for other changes to state law, including making it easier for communities to get home rule authority.

Some of the group's proposals echo Gov. Bruce Rauner's demands, such as calls to ease prevailing wage requirements and to limit unfunded mandates passed down by the state.

Rauner hasn't had a lot of luck getting much of his pro-business ideas passed by the state legislature, but Mayor Tom Gray of Chatham says such changes will save money.

"Providing municipalities with additional flexibility over their finances and operations is the right solution to this problem," he said.

The Municipal League backs other ideas Rauner supports, including making the workers' compensation system cheaper for businesses. Democrats have said they're also open to making changes to workers' compensation, but not in the ways the governor wants.

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