The state of Illinois and a number of labor unions have reached four-year contract agreements, the Rauner administration said Wednesday.
Agreements have been reached with the following unions, according to the governor's office: "Service Employees International Union ("SEIU"), Local 1 Chicago, the International Union of United Food and Commercial Workers, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Three Councils of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, Mid-Central Illinois Regional Council of Carpenters, and the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenter's Regional Council), the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers - Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers, the Laborers International Union of North America, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, & Transportation Workers, and Illinois State Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers."
In announcing the new agreements, the Rauner administration used the opportunity to take aim at AFSCME Council 31. The union and the administration have yet to reach a new contract agreement.
"Altogether, the Governor has now successfully negotiated new collective bargaining agreements with 17 different bargaining units representing more than 5,000 state employees. These developments stand in stark contrast to the ongoing negotiations with AFSCME Council 31," reads a statement from the governor's office. "Despite being offered substantially the same material terms as the Teamsters and the Trades, AFSCME has to date rejected the governor's chief proposals."
Here's more from the Rauner administration's news release:
The agreements announced today include:
* The State will expand the existing group health insurance program by offering employees a variety of new options. In the expanded program, employees will receive on average $967 per month to either maintain their current premiums, maintain their current coverage, mix and match in the way that is most beneficial to them, or shop for an entirely new custom health insurance package potentially on a new health insurance marketplace. Employees can also use the State's contribution to purchase insurance through a union plan.
* A new performance incentive program to reward employees with bonuses for cost-saving measures and meeting or exceeding performance standards.
* A new, collaborative managed competition program that allows management and the unions to work together to provide low-cost alternatives to outsourcing.
* A reduction in the payout for accumulated unused vacation from 75 to 45 days for employees hired after January 1, 2016.
* Continuation of a 40-hour work week with overtime earned after 40 hours.
* A program to enable the State of Illinois to address minority underutilization in state government.
* Increased training and certification opportunities for employees.
* Continuation of the prevailing rate system administered by the Illinois Department of Labor.
AFSCME is now on the opposite side of these negotiations from their own colleagues in organized labor. AFSCME continues to reject many of the same, reasonable proposals being ratified by wide margins by their fellow state employees:
* AFSCME continues to reject the health insurance framework accepted by the trade unions. AFSCME's proposal is to continue the same unaffordable health insurance system that the credit rating agencies have noted in the recent downgrades.
* AFSCME continues to reject a new performance incentive program accepted by trades and Teamsters. AFSCME's proposal is to continue to pay employees unaffordable automatic wage increases.
* AFSCME continues to reject a new, collaborative managed competition program accepted by trades and Teamsters.
* AFSCME continues to resist moving the overtime trigger to the common workplace benchmark of 40 hours.
* AFSCME continues to reject a program to enable the State of Illinois to address minority underutilization in state government.
* AFSCME continues to reject a four-year wage freeze. Teamsters, in contrast, not only agreed to freeze their wages but did so on top of the 75% in-hire rate.
AFSCME Council 31 had this to say in response to the administration's comments:
Contrary to statements from the Governor's Office today, the Rauner Administration has failed to reach agreement on union contracts covering the vast majority of state employees. In addition to AFSCME, unions that have not reached agreements include the INA, LIUNA, IFT, FOP, PB&PA and SEIU Healthcare, which together represent more than 40,000 state employees and tens of thousands of state-funded independent providers.
In contrast, the trades unions whose agreements were announced today represent only several hundred state workers.
The issues at stake in the trades negotiations are likewise very different. Because these unions have independent health plans, their members have the option not to take state health insurance. Similarly, their pay is typically set by the prevailing wage. Our union negotiates the health plan covering state and university employees and retirees, and bargains wage schedules for more than 500 job titles.
In negotiations with AFSCME, the Rauner Administration is demanding a four-year wage freeze and huge hikes in employee health costs, forcing workers to pay double their current premium to keep their coverage and driving down their take-home pay.
The Rauner Administration is also seeking to eliminate our contract's safeguards against reckless privatization of public services, and demanding a so-called "merit pay" scheme that opens the door wide to cronyism by letting politically appointed bosses determine who gets a raise.
Like all working people, caregivers, child protection workers, correctional officers and other AFSCME-represented public service workers in state government deserve wages that sustain a family, affordable health care, retirement security and a voice on the job.
Our union is committed to reaching a fair agreement that achieves those goals. If the governor shares our commitment, he will correct his staff's misleading claims and alter his confrontational tactics that make it harder, not easier, to find common ground.
SEIU* Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher also responded to the news of the latest labor agreements and described his union's experience at the bargaining table with the Rauner administration:
While we are happy for our sisters and brothers at SEIU Local 1, the fact remains that the state's largest bargaining units, the 52,000 low-income Illinois home healthcare and child care workers of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, continue to work without a contract while Bruce Rauner presses extreme demands that would totally destabilize this workforce.
Our contracts expired June 30th. At the bargaining table, Gov. Rauner has sought to strip the lowest-paid workforce in the state of health insurance and training, along with other demands meant to diminish if not outright eliminate the workplace voice of these vital workers. He also is demanding a wage freeze for workers earning poverty-level wages. Already, he has stopped payments to the healthcare funds for our workers, raising immediate threats of misery and economic hardship on a large scale.
For some reason, Rauner appears to be willing to single out SEIU Healthcare for demands harsher than the other units of government with whom he has reached a deal and ALL OF WHICH were able to keep their bargained-for health insurance--and their union voice.
Rauner recently attacked our workforce through administrative rules meant to diminish the size of the home healthcare and child care workforces. And he bankrolls anti-union groups that are shamefully attacking our workers in the courts and in the media. His ongoing attacks at the bargaining table are part of his greater hostility against collective bargaining in general and his billionaire agenda to permanently weaken the union movement.
*The SEIU Illinois Council sponsors this website.