The Rauner administration is asking the Illinois Labor Relations Board to rule on the status of its contract negotiations with AFSCME Council 31 ahead of a recommendation from an administrative law judge.
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.
Hearings before an administrative law judge in the case started in April. A Rauner spokeswoman says using an administrative law judge "is optional under state labor laws."
By expediting a resolution in the case, the administration says the state could produce monthly health insurance savings between $35 million and $40 million. The state cannot see such cost savings without a ruling in the case, the administration claims.
AFSCME leaders, who say negotiations are not at an impasse, believe the administration's request is unprecedented.
"We've never seen anything like this before, to cut the administrative law judge out of the process and proceed to the full board," said AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall, according to the State Journal-Register. "It's just more evidence of the endless lengths this governor will go to impose his demands and not negotiate a fair agreement."
AFSCME has an opportunity to submit a written response to the administration's request to the board. Upon receipt of the union's response, the labor body will then determine how to rule on the administration's request.