· AFSCME announces results of strike authorization vote. AFSCME, the labor union that represents 38,000 Illinois employees, states that 81% of the workers who participated in a recent advisory ballot voted to authorize a possible strike.
A key advisor to Governor Bruce Rauner, General Counsel Dennis Murashko, called the vote to authorize a strike “an attack on our state’s hardworking taxpayers and all those who rely on crucial services provided every day.”
The union’s leadership pointed to a possible partial freeze in State pay rates, and cuts in employer-financed health care benefits, as reasons for the strike vote. The Governor’s office responded that AFSCME workers currently enjoy many benefits that private-sector workers do not enjoy, such as a 37.5-hour work week, platinum health insurance benefits, and a ban on merit pay. The AFSCME vote does not make a strike inevitable, but authorizes the union’s powerful bargaining committee to call a labor action in the near future. The strike, if it occurs, would be the first ever statewide public-sector labor action against the State of Illinois.