Dear AFSCME Member:
According to the union’s records you are among the thousands of state employees whose right to collective bargaining is now at risk because of a new law – Public Act 97-1192—that was enacted earlier this year despite vigorous opposition by AFSCME and other labor unions.
As you likely know very well, the new law allows Governor Quinn to unilaterally strip more than 3,400 state employees of their right to union representation—including 1.900 employees who are currently union members if they meet certain very broad criteria.
Once the law was enacted, AFSCME demanded the right to bargain over its impact and sought to establish protections for affected employees. An agreement was reached between AFSCME and DCMS that provides the following:
· Base salaries of employees removed from a bargaining unit shall not be reduced.
· Employees removed from the bargaining unit will have the option to move into an equal or lower level bargaining unit vacancy within their agency per Article XX, Section 3j of the Master Agreement (provided that the specific employee’s skills are not specifically needed in his/her current position).
· Employees who are removed from the bargaining unit and are not offered a bargaining unit position that would not result in a loss of pay will have enhanced bidding rights to return to a bargaining unit position (provided that the specific employee’s skills are not specifically needed in his/her current position) at any time in the future that a position is available.
We wanted to be sure you know that the Quinn Administration has now begun the process of identifying those positions that will be designated for exclusion from the collective bargaining rights provided by the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act. Today the Administration will begin to send out notices to those employees whom the governor is targeting for removal from the bargaining unit.
Objections must be filed at the Illinois Labor Relations Board within ten days of the employee’s notification of the exclusion. In order to ensure that this deadline is met, if you receive such notification and believe there is a basis on which to challenge your exclusion—and wish the Union to file an objection—you must complete and submit the attached information sheet (two pages) to Council 31 (return information is at the bottom of the form) within four days of receiving notification of the exclusion. You can also choose to file your own objection directly to the Labor Board. The notice sent out by CMS will include information on how to file such an objection.
Remember that the criteria established in the law for exclusions are very broad and in most instances, it will be difficult to prevail in these challenges at the Labor Board. That’s why it’s important that you marshal as many facts as possible so that the union can make the best argument.
We know that this is going to be a very difficult time for union members who find themselves targeted by the governor to be stripped of their bargaining rights. You know how long and hard AFSCME fought against this measure. You should also be aware that if you are targeted by the governor, AFSCME will work with you to ensure that the rights delineated above are upheld. In addition, if you are removed from the bargaining unit, you can choose to remain a member of AFSCME and the union will continue to represent you in personnel matters to the fullest extent that the law allows.