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AFSCME Official Says Union Hopes To Avoid Strike

K. Kendall

Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) don't want to strike, says spokesman Anders Lindall. But the union is laying the groundwork, just in case.

"We've got nearly 80 local unions of state employees and so they are having their conversations with their members, on the ground, where they live and work, to give them all the information and answer all their questions," said Lindall.

He added Governor Bruce Rauner is trying to unilaterally impose demands -- like pay cuts, and higher health insurance premiums -- on the thousands of state employees who are members of AFSCME.

The Rauner administration says the two sides are so far apart on negotiating a new contract, there's no point to further talks. Rauner is also asking the state labor relations board to rule on the matter in short order, bypassing an administrative judge. 

The board Thursday unanimously rejected the governor's request for an expedited ruling on the impasse question. The governor says union members would accept his offer if their leadership would give them the chance.

AFSCME has never gone on strike in the roughly 40 years Illinois has had collective bargaining. The two sides have been at odds since Rauner was a candidate, and criticized "government union bosses."

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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