As another round of contract negotiations got underway on Wednesday, growing numbers of state workers showed they are prepared to take action to achieve a fair settlement.
On Monday and Tuesday, thousands of union members in worksites all across the state engaged in Solidarity Action Days, taking a public stand against Governor Quinn’s efforts to drive down the standard of living of active employees and push many retirees into poverty.
From office buildings in Chicago to prisons downstate, state workers showed the governor’s attacks on them are only strengthening their resolve.
At the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, several hundred AFSCME members lined the atrium railings and crowded into the first floor lobby with signs held high. Representing a variety of state departments, they drew attention to Quinn’s lack of respect for the collective bargaining process and his push to force retirees to shoulder the burden of the state’s underfunded pension system.
Cook County DCFS workers from Local 2081 wore all black one day, and all red the next, as a show of solidarity, protesting the governor’s refusal to honor wage increases agreed to in the previous contract – a contract that, in an unprecedented move, Quinn terminated in November.
At Menard CC, correctional employees coming off their shift joined with employees from Chester MHC to take a stand against Quinn’s rush to close DOC and DJJ facilities – a move that has been followed by an outbreak of violent incidents that have seen staff injured and an inmate killed.
And in Springfield, members of Local 632 from Decatur CC personally delivered to Quinn’s office a resolution signed by over 100 members, letting the governor know that they “will stand united and in solidarity in our fight to win a fair and just contract.”
The Quinn administration has continued to insist that a new contract freeze wages for state workers while dramatically increasing out-of-pocket health care costs. AFSCME members are standing united for a fair contract that allows them to maintain the middle class standard of living they’ve earned.
via AFSCME Council 31