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Thursday, May 2, 2013

UNION: AFSCME to take another vote on contract

This is what happens in the event of a yes or no vote from an internal email from the AFSCME Bargaining Committee asking members to vote yes for the affirmation:

If the membership votes YES, to sign the contract:

*    Employees will be placed at their appropriate salary level (with either a 2% or 7.25% increase) effective July 1, 2013.

*    AFSCME and the Quinn Administration will continue to work toward passage of HB 212, the supplemental appropriation that would provide funds to pay all back wages owed to employees per the previous contract. If the supplemental is enacted so that the back wages can be paid, then the lawsuit will effectively become moot since that is the issue before the court.

*    All terms and conditions of the union contract would be in effect.

If the membership votes NO, not to sign the contract:

*    The salary increases (either 2% or 7.25%) scheduled for July 1 would not go into effect.

*    The union contract will not be in effect.

*    The Administration will not have to uphold its commitment to lobby in support of the supplemental appropriation for the back pay, though the Union would continue to do so.

*    The Union or Management could seek to return to the bargaining table.

Story at State Journal-Register

By Doug Finke (
The State Journal-Register
Posted Apr 30, 2013 @ 06:47 PM

 The largest state employee union said Tuesday it will put its recently negotiated contract up for another vote by members.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said it is taking the action because Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration has not lived up to a commitment to drop a lawsuit over back wages owed to union employees.

“A new vote is required since the first tally was based on the administration’s commitment to drop its appeal of a court decision,” AFSCME said in a statement. “Gov. Quinn has asked that the appeal be dropped, but the authority rests with Attorney General Lisa Madigan who has refused to do so.”

AFSCME filed the lawsuit to force the administration to honor raises that were due to thousands of union workers under the previous AFSCME contract. Quinn rescinded the raises, saying the General Assembly did not allocate money to pay them.

AFSCME won the lawsuit and the administration was ordered to pay the raises. Several weeks later, AFSCME and the administration reached agreement on a new, three-year labor agreement that called for all back wages to be paid and for the administration to drop any appeal of the lawsuit.

However, Madigan, the state’s lawyer in the case, said she wouldn’t take action until her office was satisfied lawmakers will allocate the $145 million needed to pay the back wages. So far, lawmakers haven’t approved the money.

“The court has ruled, correctly, that the state must honor the prior union contract and that employees are owed their back pay,” AFSCME executive director Henry Bayer said in a statement. “We think the appeal should be dropped and the matter put to rest. Since the earlier vote was based on assurances that the appeal would be withdrawn, union members have a right to re-vote now.”

Quinn’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

A $145 million supplemental budget bill has been introduced in the House that would provide enough money to pay the back wages. There is no timetable for lawmakers to act on it.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, believes the past due wages fall into the same category as old state bills and can be paid with tax revenue that came in higher than expected last year, said his spokesman Steve Brown.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said 40,000 AFSCME members will revote on the contract over the next two weeks. If union members reject the agreement this time, it could be back to the start.

“In any negotiation, if any party does not ratify an agreement, then no contract is in place,” Lindall said. “The parties could return to the (bargaining) table.”