Leaked AFSCME contract offer reveals new perks for state workers

Local News
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ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Governor J.B. Pritzker plans to offer pay raises, more time off work, enhanced family leave and a cash stipend to offset “financial hardship” state workers endured under the administration of his Republican predecessor, according to a copy of the Pritzker administration’s contract offer.

The one-time stipend of $2,500 will “be paid upon ratification of the agreement.” Union members will qualify for a quarter of the stipend so long as they worked one calendar day in any of the prior four years.

The new contract assures newer members they will continue to receive “step increases,” or automatic pay raises.

All members will see a pay raise of 1.5% on January 1, 2020, another pay raise of 2.1% on July 1, 2020, on July 1, 2021, a pay raise of 3.95%, and on July 1, 2022, a pay raise of 3.95%.

By 2022, the average state employee would see his or her annual salary jump from $59,679 up to $66,827 for an average net increase of more than $7,000.

Each worker’s increased contribution to the state’s health insurance program would cost roughly $624 to $864 extra each year.

In addition to pay raises and job perks, state workers who are members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31 (AFSCME) will have to chip in higher premiums and co-pays for their health insurance coverage.

The letter, published on AFSCME letterhead, tells members this deal would be much better than the one they might have seen under the state’s former executive.

It reads under Governor Rauner, health care premiums could have increased by as much as 120%.

“He also pressed for massive increases in out-of-pocket costs,” it reads, but, “he did not prevail.”

The higher premiums will cost state workers an extra $13 per month for single plans and $18 per month for dependents.

Those increases will kick in over four increments, starting on January 1st, 2020, and culminating on July 1st, 2022, at a total increase of $52 per month for single plans and $72 per month for dependents.

Members who make more than $125,000 will have to contribute an extra $35 per month starting this upcoming New Year.

“Paid maternity leave for birth and adoption will increase from four weeks to 10 weeks,” the contracts states, and will also expand to apply to both parents if they each work for the state. The 10 weeks can be taken together or back-to-back instead of the parents splitting one paid leave.

The contract offer also removes the potential for discipline if employees decline to work mandatory overtime.

“The maximum time the employer may make temporary assignments unrelated to illness or injury leave will increase from 60 to 90 days,” the contract reads. “Outstanding debts to the state at the time of retirement will no longer be cause for termination of retiree health benefits, so long as the individual is making a good-faith effort to repay the debt.”

“With this tentative agreement, Illinois has turned another important page from years of brutal ideological warfare,” Pritzker said recently. “Instead, this agreement respects the valuable contributions our workers make to the state and treats all our taxpayers fairly, thanks to months of negotiations that were constructive and frank. 

Members are reviewing the details and will vote to either accept or decline Pritzker’s offer before the end of the month.

AFSCME did not immediately return a request seeking comment.

 

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