Author: Tony

IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATES FOR MARCH 2018

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Rauner Appeal on Steps AFSCME has won another round in the battle for payment of step increases that Gov. Rauner has illegally frozen since July 1, 2015. When bargaining for a new state contract got underway in 2015, the law required that current conditions of employment remain in place—including movement through the state’s pay plan schedule. But Rauner ignored that requirement and acted unilaterally to impose a freeze on employee step increases. AFSCME challenged that action in appellate court—and we won. Last November the 5th District Appellate Court ruled that the Rauner Administration violated the law when it refused to continue paying step increases after the expiration date of the union contract. The court found that employees are owed step increases and remanded the case back to the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) for a remedy. That ruling was put on hold when the Rauner Administration filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Yesterday the Supreme Court denied the Rauner Administration’s petition for leave to appeal. So the decision of the 5th District Appellate Court that the steps are owed stands and no further appeal is possible. Now, pursuant to the appellate court’s order, the case will be remanded to the Labor Board to devise a remedy. Rauner has claimed that the state cannot afford to pay the step increases...

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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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