Illinois Cancels Union Contract - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Illinois Cancels Union Contract

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Terminated, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has ended the state's contract with its largest public employee union.

Nearly a year of negotiations on a new contract have not been successful.

The old contract had been extended three times during the negotiating process.

We break down a few common questions.

Without a contract in place will the state grind to a halt?

No, both the union and state agree that workers will continue to be paid. State employees will still go to work.

AFSCME Local 2615 President Carlene Erno says, "We don't want to see an interruption in the services for the state, we don't want to end up in a court room we want to reach an agreement."

Why terminate the contract in the first place?

The Governor believes extending the contract doesn't encourage the union to come to the table with concessions. His assistant budget director Abdon Pallasch says, "During 11 months of bargaining, the state has extended the contract three times and made significant efforts to compromise. But the government employees union, which has not offered a single proposal to deal with retirement health care, continues to seek millions of dollars in pay hikes the taxpayers can't afford to give them."

What's the hang up in negotiations?

The state says the union isn't bargaining over health care costs and continues to ask for pay increases. The union disagrees, but will not disclose issues at the bargaining table. Those sessions are not public knowledge.

Are negotiations over?

No, another session is scheduled in December. Both sides want to see a new contract worked out.

"You have to work hard, these are huge issues, we're willing to do that," says Erno.

Pallasch says, "We are committed to securing a fair contract that is affordable to the taxpayers during these tough economic times.

The AFSCME union covers 40-thousand employees in Illinois.

Including prison guards, child case workers, and road workers.

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