Governor Patrick Quinn and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 have reached a tentative agreement today on a new union contract covering some 35,000 state employees. Negotiations have been ongoing for more than 15 months. The negotiations have been tough and the announcement was most certainly a surprise.
“At a time when the state is facing unprecedented financial challenges, this agreement is fair to both hard-working state employees and all taxpayers of Illinois," Governor Pat Quinn said. "I want to thank the women and men who have stayed at the table for more than a year for their commitment to reaching an agreement.”
“AFSCME is very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that protects our members’ standard of living, and is fair to them and all Illinois citizens, even in these very challenging economic times,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Henry Bayer said.
AFSCME members must ratify any contract negotiated by their elected bargaining representatives. The ratification process will get under way at worksites statewide during the week of March 4.
While the details of the tentative agreement will be released after the union’s membership, many of the sticking points were overcome in negotiations.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 will get promised 2011 pay increases on which the Democratic governor reneged last year, according to a member of AFSCME's bargaining committee. The member spoke on condition of anonymity because of not being authorized to speak publicly about the deal.
Neither the governor's office nor union officials would publicly disclose details of the three-year agreement. But the bargaining committee member said more than 35,000 union members would get 2 percent salary increases in each of the last two years of the three-year pact after taking a wage freeze in the first year.
In return, workers will pay more of their health insurance costs, said the committee member.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.