By CARL GREEN
Springfield, IL – The Illinois Supreme Court has denied Governor Bruce Rauner’s request to streamline the process for ruling on whether he can inflict damaging contract terms on AFSCME Council 31 members.
Rauner asked the court to bypass the 4th District Appellate Court and hear a direct appeal of the Illinois Labor Relations Board’s Nov. 15 ruling that contract talks were at an impasse a year ago, when Rauner walked away from negotiations.
The labor board ruling would, under state law, allow Rauner to implement his proposed contract terms – except that Council 31 filed for an appeal.
The 4th District judges refused to allow Rauner to immediately impose his terms, including doubling employee costs for health care and ending safeguards against irresponsible privatization.
A ruling of impasse would let him do that, but AFSCME maintains there could not be an impasse because Rauner had not negotiated.
The appellate court’s refusal to allow Rauner to impose his demands was based on what it called a “reasonable likelihood” that AFSCME would prevail on appeal.
The union’s appeal of the labor board ruling will now be heard by the appellate court.
Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said Rauner is just stalling for time in the case.
“AFSCME members are public service workers who do their jobs every day, protecting kids, keeping us safe, helping veterans and the disabled and much more,” she said. “Governor Rauner should stop wasting time and money on costly court fights and instead do his own job, working constructively to find common ground.”