AFSCME’s Big, Fat Greek Contract

From Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives:

As you are aware, agreements between the Executive Branch and labor unions representing state employees expired on June 30, 2015. The governor’s office has signed an extension until September 30, 2015 or whenever the parties reach an impasse in negotiations. This positive development allows additional time to reach agreement without the threat of a strike during the negotiations.

Contrary to incendiary comments in AFSCME’s newsletters that have been reported publicly, with or without a tolling agreement the Governor will not lock out state employees.  AFSCME leaders have been notified of that, but they have refused to inform their members.

I feel that all taxpayers and union members should be made aware of the latest developments in these negotiations and the positions of both parties.

AFSCME has refused to move off many of their initial proposals. These requests are outrageously expensive and read like the contracts of government workers in socialist, bankrupt Greece:

  • An 11.5% pay increase at a cost of over $1.25 billion over 4 years;
  • A 29% pay increase for some employees who receive a general and a “step” increase over 4 years;

  • A 25% increase in longevity pay for Step 8 employees;

  • A 37.5 hour work week;

  • 5 weeks of fully paid vacation;

  • Full health insurance benefits to laid off employees for up to 2 years;

  • Full health insurance benefits to intermittent employees;

  • Full health insurance benefits to part-time employees;

  • A new more expensive health insurance package that covers new procedures such as oral surgery (which is currently covered by the dental plan) and orthodontics for those over 18, without any additional employee contributions;

  • Allow laid off employees to move to a lower employee position but keep their same wage rates indefinitely;

  • Pay lawyers in the union time and half for any time over 37.5 hours per week and pay for them to attend legal conferences;

  • Impose a penalty by doubling wage increases anytime agreed increases are delayed because of budget constraints; and

  • Increase overtime pay at DOC to double time after 6 overtime sessions every 3 months.

  • Financial analysts estimate that these proposals would add $1.6 billion in salary and pension costs and would eliminate $500 million per year in healthcare savings that were part of the overall healthcare savings included in both Democrat and Republican budgets. At a time when the current budget is more than $4 billion out of balance, this is unacceptable. It is also far out of line with what other unions, such as Teamsters, have proposed.

In mediation:

  • The Governor withdrew the proposal that employees voluntarily switch to the Tier Two pension system;
  • Both parties agreed to a two-month tolling agreement; so, no strike or lockout until at least October 1;

  • The Governor withdrew the proposal to unilaterally implement new work rules;

  • The Governor modified the proposal about integrity of the bargaining unit and returned to contract language from 2004.

Additionally, the Governor has revised many of his core proposals, including:

  • Substantially modified proposal to expand management rights;
  • Withdrew proposal of no limits on subcontracting, and replaced it with subcontracting model endorsed by AFSCME international;

  • Withdrew proposal to eliminate all “bumping” rights for laid-off employees, and presented a hybrid;

  • Withdrew proposal prohibiting state pay to employees who conduct union business during the workhours; and

  • Withdrew proposed reduction in holidays, and now proposes maintaining current number of holidays.

The parties continue to negotiate economic issues, such as:

  • Governor wants to create a merit pay program for high-performing employees but eliminate COLA and step increases for 4 years.  The union wants COLA of 2%, 3%, 3% & 3% for 4 years (costing $791M), plus step increases (costing $412M);
  • Governor  has offered overtime pay on holidays at 1.5x or 2x pay (depending on holiday), while union wants holiday pay at 2x or 2.5x pay (costing $180M);

  • Governor wants overtime pay only after 40 hours, not 37.5 hours, while union wants 37.5 hours and lower Overtime thresholds in certain areas (costing $80+M);

  •  Governor wants to eliminate tuition reimbursement while union wants tuition reimbursement (costing $20M).

  • While unions are prohibited from striking under the terms of the latest tolling agreement,

  • ILGA members have been advised by the Governor’s office that we should nonetheless continue all contingency planning activities for the possibility of a strike.

I will keep you posted as negotiations proceed

11 thoughts on “AFSCME’s Big, Fat Greek Contract

  1. I am speechless. The level of entitlement is extraordinary. Why not simplify this to pay and benefits for the state employees commensurate with the equivalent job in the civilian sector? Why should they make so much more? What incredible sacrifice are they making to deserve such gilded employment conditions? How did we get to this point?

    1. The Federal employees have similar “perks” and pay scale. And, it is almost impossible to “dismiss” a poor employee. I wonder if this Union represents the City workers. If so, Bloomington is screwed.

  2. Where do I get an employment application? Will I be required to work too and do performance evaluations? I’ll probably be sick for a year or two also. I have no qualifications too so I should get hired.

    Unbelievable. Rauner stand your ground against these socialist extortionist!

  3. I’m not sure if all state employees have this setup, but some have their salary based on a salary schedule that uses years of service (education level is included also in the calculations for teachers) in determining the salary for each person . So the employees get a raise each year already. When they ask for a raise, it means increasing the amounts on the entire salary schedule.

    I love those signs around saying “we support state workers”. I always want to ask those people what exactly they think they are supporting. In reality they are supporting the further bankrupting of our state and supporting the saddling of more debt on future generations just so a few people can get outsized pay checks and benefits most people can only dream about having.

    1. I work at ISU, as an administrative professional, and certainly do not have this set up, at all. I do not get an automatic set raise every year. What’s funny is there is a push by the civil service folks in the state to move our positions from A/P to civil service. No thanks! I’m also, thankfully, not in a union. I’d quit if they made me join one. My contract can be terminated anytime, you know, like every other job in the world.

    2. State workers should be reminded that they work for and are paid by citizens. Unions in the corporate arena are one thing where profits are used for salaries and benefits, although the cost is passed on to consumers. Citizens can’t print there own driver’s license of safely dispose of solid waste but consumers at least have the choice of not purchasing an item.

  4. AFSCME is a criminal organization that should be RICOed out of existence.

    And let me tell you from personal experience, a awful lot of thuggishness (and Communism) behind those cute little “we support state workers” signs.

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