Illinois’ largest state employee union votes to authorize a strike. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 announced eighty-one percent of union members voted in favor.
Roberta Lynch is director of The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 and blames the problems squarely on the governor, calling him stubborn and hostile towards unions as whole.
“If the governor tries to impose his unreasonable demands, he risks a strike that would shut down state government and he alone bears the responsibility for the harm that strike would cause, ” she says.
Governor Rauner says the state’s prepared should AFSCME strike, and urges the union to accept his terms. He says after a year of negotiations and sixty-seven meetings, they remain at an impasse.
“We’ve come to an agreement on basically the same terms with twenty other government unions. I think it’s very reasonable to have overtime start at forty hours, not thirty-seven and a half, it’s very reasonable to have some modest increase in healthcare costs given what taxpayers, working families in this state have had happen to their own healthcare,” he says.
This is the first time a strike has been authorized in forty years of collective bargaining. A strike is not guaranteed just because one’s been authorized.