AFSCME Pushes For Override Of Bill That Governor Calls "Assault On Taxpayers"

Aug 6, 2015

Credit wuis

What will happen if Illinois' largest public employees union and Governor Bruce Rauner can't reach new contract terms? That may depend on the outcome of another battle in Springfield -- this one between Rauner and legislators.

In the past, both sides have had some sort of trump card at their disposal if negotiations broke down: unions members could strike, a governor could "lock" them out. A measure approved by the General Assembly would take away those options, leaving it to an arbitrator.

Rauner vetoed the measure, and Wednesday condemned it as the worst bill he's ever heard of.

"That bill is a declaration of war against the taxpayers of Illinois," he said.

Still, Rauner made a public promise that he will not lockout workers, saying "I have no interest in doing a lockout. If I wanted to do a lockout of AFSCME, I'd have already done it. I have absolutely no interest."

But unions are urging legislators to override the governor; they say Rauner doesn't need to use a lockout, he could force a strike by making extreme demands.

As for the legislatures' Democratic leaders: Senate President John Cullerton said he was still studying the measure, but Speaker Michael Madigan says there is enough support in the House for an override.