Author: Tony

Important Update for State Employees Feb 2018

Back Pay Appropriation Bills in the House and Senate With a new session of the Illinois General Assembly getting underway, AFSCME is renewing the push for legislation to fund back pay owed to thousands of state employees since a pay raise was withheld in 2011. The courts have ruled that the money is owed to the employees, but that it cannot be paid without a legislative appropriation. Senator Andy Manar (D-Macoupin) is the chief sponsor of the appropriation bill, SB 2269, in the Senate. A companion bill, HB 4290, has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Randolph). Sen. Manar has stressed that back pay is a bipartisan issue that should be supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. In fact, his chief co-sponsor in the Senate is Sam McCann, a Republican from an adjoining central Illinois district. This will undoubtedly be another year of budget battles without sufficient revenues to meet the state’s needs. So it won’t be easy to win passage of the back pay appropriation. We’ve got to make sure that legislators know that state employees deserve to be paid the money owed to them. Contact your state senator and state representative today and urge him or her to vote YES on SB 2269 and HB 4290! Call 1-888-912-5959 or click-to-call. Rauner’s Anti-worker Lawsuit goes to Supreme Court From his earliest days of...

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Important Updates for State Employees- January 2018

Lessons from the Quincy Veterans Home The bright spotlight now being shone on the deaths and illness as a result of Legionnaire’s Disease at the Quincy Veterans Home provides a tragic and telling indication of Bruce Rauner’s reign as governor of Illinois. On his watch, state operations have steadily deteriorated in many respects. A purported technology overhaul that created a whole new agency (DoIT) has been plagued by confusion and mismanagement. In addition, thousands of Illinois residents faced a bleak holiday season when a new computer system in DHS erroneously kicked them off the SNAP (food stamp) rolls. In DCFS the failure to hire adequate staff has put intense pressure on caseworkers. And in DOC and DJJ, hasty and ill-conceived implementation of policy changes has significantly increased the incidence of inmate and youth assaults on staff. The crisis at Quincy dramatically escalated while being essentially ignored by the governor’s office. Moreover, management in the Department of Veterans Affairs consistently refused to share information with employees or the union from the outset, ignoring all efforts by AFSCME members to provide input on addressing the problem. That hostility and contempt toward frontline workers—even as they continued to care for the veterans in such a high-risk environment—reflects Rauner’s overall attitude toward employees. Fortunately, the media spotlight on the Quincy veterans home is now also drawing the attention of state legislators and even...

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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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