A contentious bill seeking the use of binding arbitration to resolve labor disputes between the Rauner administration and unions has reemerged in the state legislature.
The bill, similar to one vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner last July, would prohibit a state worker strike or lockout and instead send the issue to arbitration in order to reach a resolution. The House failed to override Rauner's veto of the high-profile labor bill last year.
A House committee approved the new labor bill Thursday, one day after President Barack Obama visited the gridlocked Illinois General Assembly and called for compromise.
AFSCME Council 31 and the Rauner administration have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract to replace the one that expired June 30. The Rauner administration has asked the state's Labor Relations Board to determine whether contract talks with AFSCME are at an impasse.
The Rauner administration claims that the binding arbitration bill could result in higher costs for the state.
"If HB580 becomes law, the General Assembly would effectively cede major financial decisions to unelected, unaccountable arbitrators," reads an administration memo.
State Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-Hillside) is sponsoring the legislation.
"I believe this is a major concession, to give up the right to strike," he said. "We want to prevent the administration from locking out employees who are providing services to the state and shutting down government."