Gov. Bruce Rauner says his team is trying to assess its options after an apparent breakdown in talks with AFSCME last week. The union is bargaining on behalf of 36 thousand state workers for a new contract.
There's an impasse over whether there's an impasse. In this case, that's not just a synonym for "not going well." It's a high-stakes legal term, that basically signals the gulf that divides the two sides is so wide it can't be bridged, so there's no point to negotiating further.
Rauner says after a year and 67 bargaining sessions, he's seen no progress with AFSCME.
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.