Illinois Governor Vetoes Arbitration Bill
The governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, recently vetoed legislation that would have allowed an arbitrator to settle disputes related to wages and working conditions if union negotiations stalled. According to Rauner, the bill was an attacked on taxpayers in the state of Illinois.
The veto is another step in the prolonged contract negotiations with the state’s largest union that represents state workers. Each side is accusing the other of unwillingness to compromise. Rauner vetoed a very similar bill a year ago.
According to Rauner, sending negotiations to arbitration would favor the union and take away the power of the state to represent taxpayers when it came time to negotiate a new labor agreement with state employees. He called is an action to defend taxpayers who are denied a voice at the bargaining table.
The veto occurs at a time when the Rauner administration and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union are presenting their cases during a hearing with the state’s labor board. The goal of the hearing is to determine if negotiations have reached an impasse. The final decision from the labor board could still be months away.
The governor’s goal is to curb the power of the unions, which tend to favor Democrats in Illinois. Ultimately, he wants to improve Illinois’ business climate and protect taxpayers from the abuse of the union. According to those who oppose Rauner and his veto of the bill, it offered a responsible way to avoid a strike and the governor is a union buster.