Author: Tony

Important Updates for State Employees – October 2017

State Budget Mess Goes On More than two years of budgetary hostage-taking by Governer Bruce Rauner have left Illinois in dismal fiscal shape. Our state was already in financial trouble when Rauner took office, but he made the situation much worse by refusing to tackle the revenue shortfall unless the General Assembly first agreed to back his anti-union agenda. Fortunately, Democrats in the General Assembly refused to go along with Rauner’s demands to weaken collective bargaining rights, cut benefits for injured workers, reduce pension benefits, and make Illinois a Right-to Work state. But because the Democrats stood firmly against the governor’s all-out assault on working families, Rauner dragged out the budget/revenue crisis for more than two years—driving Illinois’ budget deficit from $5 billion to more than $15 billion. When a handful of Republican legislators finally joined with Democrats to pass a budget and raise the necessary revenues to fund it earlier this year, Rauner and his allies at the Illinois Policy Institute launched an all-out attack on them. Then Rauner proceeded to put up a number of roadblocks to implementing a key provision of the final budget plan—the issuance of bonds to pay down that mountain of debt. Now more problems are looming as it appears that savings from the establishment of a new Tier III pension option will be much lower than expected. In other words, the state’s...

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Dear Members, I wanted to make you aware of reports received by AFSCME of union members being targeted by email and telephone scams. State employees in Illinois and Washington state have received a phony email discussing supposed furloughs and directing the employee to fill out a form and reply with the information. The phony email was made to look as if it came from AFSCME international president Lee Saunders.That message is a scam and an attempt to obtain personal information about individuals. IMPORTANT: Any email from the domain name “” is a scam phishing email. Anyone who receives an email from “” or any other suspicious senders should delete the email. Don’t reply to the sender, don’t download any attachments, and don’t click any links – including the link to “stop receiving these emails.” In addition, an Illinois local government retiree reported receiving a phone call that claimed the individual owed money to the union, and should call a number to arrange to pay the money back. That call is also a fraud. If you receive emails or calls like those described above, let us know by replying to this message or using the feedback tool on the AFSCME Council 31 web site. It is a good rule of thumb to never share your personal information with a solicitor over the phone, email or web. Protecting your privacy and...

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The Illinois House acted to override Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bipartisan budget/revenue plan that brings Illinois back from the brink of fiscal collapse. After two years in which Rauner held the budget hostage to his own political agenda, our state was facing crises on every front—road work/infrastructure projects halted, human services agencies shutting their doors, state universities losing students and faculty, a mountain of unpaid bills, and the looming threat of becoming the first ever ‘junk bond’ state. How could such a situation possibly be allowed to continue? So legislators, including a small number of brave Republicans, finally had the guts to stand up to Rauner and to make the tough choices needed to save our state—cutting some $3 billion in spending and raising taxes by 1.2% (from 3.75% to 4.95%). We now have a budget! But this fight is far from over. Calls are urgently needed to legislators who voted YES on this budget/revenue plan to say THANK YOU! With Illinois finally on a path to fiscal stability, Rauner is on the rampage, with his usual mixture of lies and demagoguery. As a result, every anti-government extremist in the state is coming out of the woodwork, viciously attacking legislators who voted to save our state. Egged on by the Rauner-backed Illinois Policy Institute, hateful calls and emails, even death threats, are pouring in to those legislators’ offices....

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