revote2224As we informed you last week, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has declined to withdraw the State’s appeal in the legal dispute over pay raises owed to AFSCME members in six state agencies.

Your AFSCME Bargaining Committee met yesterday and decided to initiate a re-vote on the implementation of the new state contract because this pre-condition for the contract settlement has not been completely met.

When AFSCME reached a tentative agreement on a new state contract, a key condition of the settlement was the Quinn Administration’s commitment to:

  1. Place all employees at the appropriate pay level effective July 1, 2013.
  2. Work with the union to lobby for a supplemental appropriation in FY 13 to allow for the payment of all back wages owed in six agencies under the terms of the previous contract.
  3. Withdraw its appeal of the Cook County Circuit Court decision that affirmed that the back wages are owed to employees.

This was the information presented to you and all members at the meetings where the ratification voting took place—and which you may have taken into account in casting your vote.

The final tally of that vote indicated widespread support for the terms of the contract—with 96% of the membership voting in favor of ratification.

Once the voting was completed, the Quinn Administration took steps to implement the commitments made.

  • The FY 14 budget submitted to the General Assembly includes funding to place all employees at their proper salary level effective July 1, 2013—a 2% increase for employees who already got their raises under the previous contract; a 7.25% increase for employees in the six agencies (DOC, DHS, DJJ, DPH, DNR, HRC) that did not receive the raises due under the previous contract.
  • The Administration also has introduced a supplemental appropriation—HB 212—to pay the back wages owed to employees who did not receive their raises and is cooperating with the union to lobby for passage of this measure.
    However, the third condition—withdrawal of the appeal—has not been met. Governor Quinn did seek to have the appeal withdrawn. But the Attorney General, who has the ultimate authority in such legal matters, has declined to do so at this time.

In order to uphold the integrity of the ratification process and our union’s strong commitment to internal democracy, the Bargaining Committee decided that the membership should have the opportunity to make the determination as to whether to affirm the ratification and sign the contract.

To that end, AFSCME is initiating a statewide membership vote regarding whether to proceed with the implementation of the new contract.

Voting will get underway right away at worksites across the state. Members will have the opportunity to decide whether to affirm the ratification vote that was previously taken and move forward with signing the contract or to refuse to sign the contract.

If the membership votes YES, to sign the contract:

  • Employees will be placed at their appropriate salary level (with either a 2% or 7.25% increase) effective July 1, 2013.
  • AFSCME and the Quinn Administration will continue to work toward passage of HB 212, the supplemental appropriation that would provide funds to pay all back wages owed to employees per the previous contract. If the supplemental is enacted so that the back wages can be paid, then the lawsuit will effectively become moot since that is the issue before the court.
  • All terms and conditions of the union contract would be in effect.

If the membership votes NO, not to sign the contract:

  • The salary increases (either 2% or 7.25%) scheduled for July 1 would not go into effect.
  • The union contract will not be in effect.
  • The Administration will not have to uphold its commitment to lobby in support of the supplemental appropriation for the back pay, though the Union would continue to do so.
  • The Union or Management could seek to return to the bargaining table.

The AFSCME Bargaining Committee recommends a YES vote to sign the contract at this time and to move forward to lobby vigorously for passage of the supplemental appropriation.

Your vote is very important. Your local union will provide you with information on voting sites and times. As in the past, you will be afforded time off work to vote. Make sure your voice is heard.

Sincerely,

Henry Bayer
Executive Director

Via, AFSCME Council 31