IL state workers authorize strike

ALTON -The membership of a union representing 38,000 IL state employees has voted to authorize a strike, but whether workers will be walking out will not be known for at least a few days.

But it was the first-ever strike authorization vote in IL state government, according to American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.

No strike date was set, and union officials said they don't want a strike. Local AFSCME representative, Miguel Morga says a possible strike could have a big impact the QC as well. "We are trying to convince the governor to come back to the negotiating table".

The Illinois Labor Relations Board sided with Rauner late past year by declaring an impasse; Rauner then tried to implement changes unilaterally but was ordered to hold off when the union went to court.

Negotiations with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner's administration broke off more than a year ago over issues including overtime pay, salary increases and healthcare premiums paid by employees.

ASFCME leaders say if there were to be a strike, there's no word on when it would start.

AFSCME has been locked in a contract battle with Gov. Bruce Rauner for almost two years.

According to a statement by the union, the vote "does not necessarily mean that there will be a strike".

In November, AFSCME held rallies statewide and at three facilities in Joliet - the Department of Employment Security office downtown, the Department of Children and Family Services office on Jefferson Street, and the state crime lab on Woodruff Road - to protest an Illinois Labor Board ruling that the two sides are at an impasse. That represents about 31-percent of the union's membership.

On Wednesday, INN quoted two AFSCME members as saying electioneering was going on at their polling place and that they dropped their ballots into unsecure boxes.

"We are prepared in the eventuality of a strike".

Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan failed to convince a judge last week that paychecks without appropriation authority are unconstitutional.

  • Joanne Flowers