SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX/IRN) – A new lawsuit could be on the horizon, given the governor’s actions Thursday to begin the process to close seven state facilities and lay off nearly 1,938 state workers.
Gov. Pat Quinn contends that because the proper amount of funds were not appropriated by the General Assembly to keep the facilities open and pay state workers, he can by law impose layoffs.
“If the appropriations of the General Assembly that they adopt in the spring are insufficient to pay for the expenses of an agency for an entire fiscal year, the governor has to do something about it,” Quinn said.
But not so fast, says Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 31, the union that represents those state workers. He contends it’s a weak argument that wouldn’t hold up in court.
“It simply doesn’t hold water,” Lindall said. “Just the common sense that you could agree to a contract and then later say it’s not convenient for me to live up to the contract. That wouldn’t be good enough for any of us with our credit card bills. It shouldn’t be good enough for collective bargaining.”
It’s a matter that is being tested in court after a lawsuit was filed when Quinn imposed “Phase I” of his plan to get the state’s fiscal house in order, denying pay raises to workers even though union contracts called for them.
While a decision in federal court sided with the governor, AFSCME says it will appeal and there’s still a motion pending in circuit court, so a final decision has yet to be made. Quinn says he is confident the law and the court system are on his side.