SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (IRN) – Illinois’ top Republicans are not in favor of crushing public-sector unions.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) is of course aware of the situation in Wisconsin, and she says Republicans here have no desire to take collective bargaining rights away from government workers – but she does want to wring contract concessions from them.
“Illinois is not Wisconsin,” she said. “We are a pretty much union-friendly state. It wouldn’t be my desire to tackle the unions but rather ask them to come to the table and cooperate with us in order to solve the problems that are facing all of us.”
Specifically, Radogno wants state workers to forego raises for a year, though she admits she isn’t familiar with all the particulars of the contracts, so she doesn’t want to go further than that.
But a spokesman for AFSCME, the largest union representing state workers, notes that they have already deferred pay raises, and offered the state opportunities to save millions on overtime and health care costs.
Contracts are negotiated by the governor’s office, but Radogno says she’d stand behind Gov. Pat Quinn if he would try to drive a harder bargain.
House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) concurred with Radogno’s position.