War of Words Between Governor, AFSCME, Over State Worker Contract Negotiations

Governor tells crowd 'we're not going to miss' state workers if they strike

EYEWITNESS NEWS CAPITOL BUREAU - The ongoing battle between the Illinois labor union AFSCME and Governor Bruce Rauner is heating up.

This week, Rauner spoke in the Quad Cities, talking about the lengthy process of finalizing new contracts for state employees.  While both parties are at an impasse, Rauner shared some "true feelings" if a strike were to occur.

"We're gonna do this, we have to do this and I hope you don't strike, I don't want you to strike, but we're probably not going to miss you if you go," he told a crowd.

AFSCME leaders say they've asked Rauner to return to the negotiation table for months.  The Illinois Democratic County Chairmen's Association issued a statement: "Rauner doesn't care who gets hurt in the process."

But the Governor is in a strong position from a negotiating standpoint.  He's made it clear in the past that after the Labor Board declared an impasse, allowing him to implement his 'last, best offer', negotiations are effectively over.

While AFSCME has attempted legal action to force Rauner back to the bargaining table, their only real recourse is to strike.  Should that happen, the Governor has indicated he is willing to replace state workers, even encouraging prospective workers to check out the state's employment website.

AFSCME is the largest state worker union in Illinois.


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