February 1, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Springfield, IL – Illinois’ largest state employees union responded Jan. 22 to Gov. Bruce Rauner telling workers that it was stalling contract talks by demanding “across-the-board wage and step increases” and “expensive platinum health-care plans.
” AFSCME Council 31 said the governor’s letter to state employees that contained those accusations was “rife with half-truths and outright falsehoods.” The so-called “platinum” plan, it said, was state workers’ current health insurance, which Rauner wants to double premiums for. Rauner also charged that Council 31 was lying by saying he wants to cut workers’ pay. The union responded that the governor’s demand for a four-year freeze on wage and step increases, combined with higher health costs, would in reality reduce pay. The administration’s “last, best, and final” offer, issued earlier this month, would replace wages with bonuses for workers who miss less than eight workdays a year or who meet “exceptional performance standards” that it establishes. Read more