In a win for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Democrat-dominated House failed to override his veto of a high-profile labor bill on Wednesday.
After fierce debate, House lawmakers voted 68-34-9 to reverse the governor's veto of SB 1229, which would prevent a state worker strike or lockout by the administration if labor contract negotiations stall. The override measure needed 71 votes to pass.
Senate Democrats, and one Republican, overrode Rauner's veto of SB 1229 last month.
If talks over a new labor contract break down between unionized state workers and the administration, the bill would have required binding arbitration to resolve the dispute and prohibited a state worker strike or lockout.
AFSCME, which saw its labor contract with the state expire June 30, pushed for the bill.
AFSCME had argued that SB 1229 was "urgently needed because of concerns about Governor Rauner's willingness to seek confrontation rather than reach a fair contract settlement for state workers at the bargaining table."
Rauner vehemently opposed SB 1229 and had urged lawmakers to uphold his veto. In vetoing the legislation, the governor described the bill as undemocratic, bad for the state's budget and unconstitutional. Last month, the governor said the arbitration bill could "cost taxpayers in Illinois billions of dollars beyond what I think we could negotiate if we were allowed to do it in good faith and complete the process."
SEIU* Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher issued a comment after the override vote in House:
Rauner Inc. spent a lot of time and effort mischaracterizing this legislation, which would have prevented damaging service disruptions forced by the bargaining approach Rauner has chosen, specifically in hopes that no deal will be reached. Yet despite Rauner's threatening and bullying of both Democrats and his fellow Republicans in unprecedented ways - leveraging limitless money and every last ounce of his political capital - a strong majority still voted in favor of these common sense reforms.
Now that this fight is over, we hope that Bruce Rauner heeds the advice of Gov. Jim Edgar and other Republicans to abandon his 'my-way-or-the-highway' approach and come together with legislative leaders to fashion a budget that benefits all Illinoisans-not merely a political document that punishes his enemies and satisfies his extreme ideology.
*The SEIU Illinois Council sponsors this website.