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Quinn maintains plan to close state facilities despite labor dispute

H. Douglas Singer Mental Health Center is one of seven state facilities Gov. Quinn is targeting for closure. (IndyStar)
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said he wants to move forward with proposed layoffs and closing seven state facilities despite an arbitrator's ruling that doing so would violate a contract with labor unions.

Arbitrator Edwin Benn ruled on Monday that Quinn’s plan to close several prisons and mental facilities would violate an agreement with AFSCME, the state's largest public employees union. Last year’s contract guaranteed no members would be laid off through mid-2012 if the union agreed to cost cutting measures. 

Quinn’s proposed closings would eliminate an estimated state 2,000 jobs. He said cuts need to be made to the state’s budget and blames the Illinois lawmakers for not giving him enough money to run the government.

AFSCME spokesperson Anders Lindall said the state should honor that agreement despite its budget problems.

“It can't take in the benefits with one hand and then walk away when it's inconvenient for it to keep its commitments,” Lindall says.

In a statement, Quinn’s office said it will go to court in hopes of going forward with the closings and layoffs.

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