WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Illinois Governor Ends AFSCME Contract

Nov 21, 2012

Governor Pat Quinn
Credit Rich Egger

40,000 state employees in Illinois no longer have a contract.

Governor Pat Quinn on November 20 took the unprecedented step of terminating Illinois' contract with the state's largest public employees union, AFSCME.

The contract expired in June, but the two sides agreed to multiple extensions as they negotiated over a new one.

In a statement, Quinn's assistant budget director said the state has made "significant efforts to compromise."  But he said AFSCME is refusing to recognize Illinois' fiscal crisis. He said terminating the contract is an attempt to force progress.

The union sees it differently. AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall called it an extreme step.

“By doing so Pat Quinn's actions are sure to deepen the frustration of the men and women who do the real work of state government,” Lindall said. 

“Pat Quinn is provoking instability in the workplace, and Pat Quinn is making it harder to reach that fair contract." 

AFSCME and the state are scheduled to resume negotiations December 11th.

The union claimed the governor is unfairly punishing hard-working employees as he attempts to save money through budget cuts, facility closures, and a pension overhaul. 

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio