According to an internal AFSCME Council 31 e-mail obtained by Capital Fax, the public employees union and the Pat Quinn administration are far apart on agreeing to a new contract. AFSCME's contract with the state expired June 30 and the two sides agreed to extend the current deal while bargaining over a new one.
The e-mail contends that Quinn is asking for salary and benefit cuts that are non-starters with the union, adding that the two sides are searching for a mediator to help the parties work through bargaining sessions after one backed out of the job due to a lack of time. Quinn and AFSCME are scheduled to begin another three-day bargaining session on October 1 and may not secure a mediator in time for those meetings.
The letter also urges AFSCME members to continue their direct actions against the governor. As PI has documented, AFSMCE has perhaps become Quinn's most visible public opponent, jeering the governor at speaking appearances and protesting a number of state policies from budget cuts to proposed reductions in state worker pensions.