Governor Rauner Launches Job Portal to Prepare for AFSCME State Worker Strike

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The Rauner Administration has launched a jobs portal for those who may be interested in state jobs should members of the AFSCME state workers’ union strike.

Illinois’ largest workers union authorized a strike last week, with more than 80% voting ‘yes’.  That vote came after the state’s Labor Board declared negotiations between the state and AFSCME were at an impasse, allowing the Governor to implement his ‘last, best offer’, an offer AFSCME union officials say is unacceptable.

When the strike vote was announced, union officials said they had hoped it would prompt the Governor’s office to return to the negotiating table, something the Rauner administration apparently believes would be fruitless at this point based on the statement they released Tuesday.

“We genuinely hope AFSCME leadership will choose not to strike against taxpayers and work with us on implementing common-sense proposals like overtime after 40 hours, not 37.5,” Rauner General Counsel Dennis Murashko said in a statement announcing the new job portal.  “However, we must be prepared to continue government operations and provide services that citizens deserve and expect.”

The Governor’s office adds that while individuals would be hired on a temporary basis in response to a strike, the State would also begin taking steps to fill positions permanently.

A strike would be perilous for both sides.  While the Governor’s office notes that the state receives tens of thousands of applications for state jobs each year, it is unclear how many of those applicants would be willing to cross picket lines during a strike, causing a significant disruption in state services. 

AFSCME also represents 38,000 workers statewide, a number which would appear to be impossible to meet with temporary workers, who would also need training to perform their jobs.  AFSCME contends that’s why a strike would inevitably lead to a shut down of state government.

However, local AFSCME officials have told ‘Eyewitness News’ that because the union has never gone on strike before, there is no ‘strike fund’ to compensate striking workers, meaning most would face serious financial hardships should they decide to man picket lines.

The website portal to apply for state jobs is:  https://statejobs.illinois.gov.

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