The Illinois Labor Relations Board unanimously ruled against Gov. Bruce Rauner's request that the body rule on the status of its contract negotiations with AFSCME Council 31 ahead of a recommendation from an administrative law judge.
The board, made up of Rauner appointees, said a preemptive ruling would not save the state time or money as the governor's administration claimed in their request.
The union and administration have yet to agree on a contract to replace the one that expired last June. Back in January, the administration asked the state labor board to determine whether contract talks with AFSCME are at an impasse, which would allow the state to impose its own terms in a contract with state workers. Hearings before an administrative law judge in the case started in April and a recommendation is expected to be given to the labor board by November. The board will need time to go over the more than 5,000 pages of transcripts from the hearings.
"We're very pleased with the Labor Board's ruling. It maintains a process designed to allow for full consideration of the complex issues in this case," said Roberta Lynch, executive director of AFSCME Council 31, the state's largest public employee union.
"However, if the Rauner Administration is truly concerned about a timely resolution of this dispute, it should not have squandered the past six months by refusing to meet with the union bargaining committee," Lynch continued. "We have been and remain ready to return to the bargaining table, to do the hard work of compromise, and to reach an agreement that is fair to all."