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Illinois Union Arbitration Bill Met with Resistance by Lawmakers

Tuesday, September, 15, 2015

An Illinois lawmaker is trying to gather 71 votes to thwart Governor Rauner. Chicago Democrat Greg Harris sponsored the measure. He and other supporters of the union arbitration bill claim that changing the Determination of Need score standards would cause many elderly and disabled state residents to lose their at-home and in-facility care and Medicaid coverage.


The legislation was approved by the House by a vote of 74 to 13 to 12 and if it continues successfully to pass, would keep the DON score at 29.


Representative Madigan claims he has the votes necessary to achieve success, but at least one key vote was unavailable for comment. The governor has threatened to shut down the government for a few weeks to redo contracts.


The stance of Governor Raunder should come as no surprise to voters who elected him. He campaigned on his admiration of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who successfully defeated union attempts to bully lawmakers into siding with public employee demands.


Illinois is facing significant financial trouble and the governor is looking for ways to make the situation better and more sustainable. A big portion of the problem is public employee benefits and other costs. The governor has made a variety of suggestions, but most are met with resistance from lawmakers. The latest call to hand management of raises for public employees over to an unelected arbitrator is just a long line in issues that have raised concern.


Lawmakers and union officials point out these employees are in a union contract, which needs to be honored. Once binding arbitration over the bill begins, there would be a prohibition of a lockout or strike. Either side would have the option of calling for an arbitrator.