Union Arbitration Bill Heads to Illinois Governor’s Desk
A bill intended to send union contract talks to arbitration will once again be on Illinois Governor Bruce Raundr’s desk. Raunder had vetoed a similar bill last year.
The Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate approved the bill recently with the support of two Republican senators. It had previously passed the House in February with enough votes to override the expected governor’s veto.
The bill would affect contracts that are expired or are due to expire between June 30th 2015 and June 20th 2019, and includes the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, as well as six other unions. If parties involved are able to reach an agreement, the bill would require an independent arbitrator decide the contracts on an issue by issue basis.
Governor Ruaner has attempted contract talks with AFSCME for more than a year, but these talks were recently declared at an impasse. If the Illinois Labor Relations Board rules in the governor’s favor, he would be able to impose his terms on the union, representing more than 38,000 members. The governor’s office has called the bill “unprecedented and unaffordable…” and many believe it puts working families on the hook for a huge tax hike.
According to a spokesperson from the governor’s office, the Democrats have “… pandered to special interests and prioritized them over taxpayers.” Those in favor of the bill stated the tax hike is totally inaccurate and produced by the governor’s administration, going so far as to call it propaganda to believe meeting union demands would result in higher taxes for the state.