Local Unions Rally for Arbitration in Illinois State
Union officials are in the midst of a statewide tour with the goal of sending union negotiations to arbitration on a regular basis. The tour concerns House Bill 580, which was approved by the Illinois Senate and sent to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in mid-March. Rauner vetoed a similar bill in 2015. The Senate passed an override of the veto, but the bill later died on the House floor.
The statewide tour began when union presidents and members of the American Federal of State, County, and Municipal Employees gathered in front of the office of Representative Unes in downtown Pekin. Unes had recently urged both sides to engage in collective bargaining. According to a recent press released, HB 580 takes an “all or nothing” arbitration approach which takes away collective bargaining and Unes doesn’t believe that is fair to anyone. He believes the best approach is collective bargaining for a fair contract. He voted for the override last year after the original bill was vetoed.
In September, the governor’s administration and AFSCME signed an agreement that required both parties to continue meeting and negotiating in good faith. Unes is hopeful both sides will return to the bargaining table and he promises to continue imploring them to act in good faith to reach an outcome that is fair and suitable.
At the moment, all negotiations between union leaders and the state have halted. The president accuses the governor of not “staying at the table” with them to negotiate and blames all of the union problems on the budget-conscious governor.
The president is threatening a strike if the governor does not submit to their demands.