How Illinois bargains with unions could change

January 5, 2011

Sean Crawford

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A plan to change how Illinois bargains with public employee unions is advancing in the statehouse.  

Just before the election last fall, Governor Pat Quinn worked out a deal with the AFSCME union to defer pay hikes in exchange for preventing layoffs.  While both sides called it good for the state, the deal stretched beyond Quinn's term.  Quinn won the election, but House Democrats are moving to limit governors from those types of actions in the future.  The measure would have union deals run nearly concurrent with a Governor's term.  Unions don't like it. 
 

"It's a system that has worked and now we're being asked to re-jigger that in a very, what we believe, ineffective way that will cause serious problems down the line," said AFSCME's John Cameron.

Cameron says bargaining takes months, and the change in time frame could lead to chaos.  He points out new governors would spend much of their early time in office dealing with labor negotiations.  

The plan also includes budgeting guidelines that would require most state grants to undergo a five year review to determine if they are meeting their goals.  Opponents say that would lead to uncertainty for not for profits and other recipients.