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AFSCME Asks Appellate Court To Bring Rauner Back To Negotiating Table

AFSCME picket
Amanda Vinicky
NPR Illinois
AFSCME members picket outside a state building in this 2016 file photo.

The latest skirmish between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the AFSCME labor union took place in a Springfield courtroom Wednesday. This time it was before a panel of the Fourth District Appellate Court.

It’s been just about three years since AFSCME workers were due for a new contract. But Gov. Rauner made tough demands — like a new pay structure, more expensive health insurance, and more power to outsource jobs.

AFSCME says it was willing to keep negotiating, but the Rauner administration convinced a state labor board that the two sides were at an impasse, and that’s what they’re fighting out now.

Mike Newman, the No. 2 man in the Illinois branch of AFSCME, says Rauner isn't doing his job.

“He’s got the same problem he’s had with the legislature and everybody else: He marches in and it’s his way or the highway,” Newman says.

Rauner has criticized past union contracts as a “corrupt bargain” and a bad deal for taxpayers.

Whatever the appellate justices decide, it likely won’t be the last word on the case. One or both parties could eventually appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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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