By CARL GREEN
Springfield, IL – AFSCME Council 31, Illinois’ largest public Labor union has ratified a new contract with the state, the first since 2015 for the union’s 40,000 members.
Members voted overwhelmingly to approve the agreement.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker made the new contract a priority. His predecessor, former governor Bruce Rauner, had walked out of negotiations and refused to return.
The new contract includes raises totaling 11.5 percent over four years plus improvements on overtime and subcontracting. The last raise came in July 2014.
Members will pay more for health coverage, but less than the amount Rauner was seeking.
“The Rauner era was one of hostility to working people and chaos in state government,” Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “AFSCME members got through it by standing together and refusing to be bullied. Now state employees have a fair contract and, in Gov. Pritzker, an employer who respects their voices and values their work.”
Under the new contract, workers will get a stipend of $625 for each of the past four years that they worked. Pay increases will phase in at 1.5 percent next January, 2.1 percent in July 2020, 3.95 percent in January ’21 and 3.95 percent in January ’22. The contract takes effect immediately and runs through June 2023.
Health insurance premiums will vary but will average $13 a month for individuals and $18 for families. The contract expands maternity and paternity leave.
The contract also includes creation of a labor-management group to deal with workplace violence and worker safety.
The new contract also:
- Strengthens employee protections against excessive forced overtime.
- Expands maternity and paternity leave.
- Creates a labor-management body to reduce the threat of violence in the workplace and improve worker safety, preserves accountability standards for privatization proposals.
- Adds new protections to safeguard employees’ private information.