Illinois is the only state in the region that allows government workers to go on strike, effectively depriving residents of services they need and driving up the highest property tax bills in the nation.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees recently conducted a strike authorization vote. Only 80 percent of eligible workers voted, and of that group 81 percent voted to authorize a strike if the union’s bargaining committee issues the call.
AFSCME – the state’s largest government-worker union – spent two years pushing for contract provisions that would cost state taxpayers billions. Now that the union has lost before the state labor board, it has issued a “framework” for compromise. But that “framework” is merely a publicity stunt to make the union appear reasonable while union leaders threaten a strike to obtain contract provisions that burden state taxpayers.
Over the years, AFSCME – the state’s largest government-worker union – has amassed incredible benefits for state workers through contract negotiations with the state. When AFSCME comes to the bargaining table, it isn’t AFSCME versus the governor – it’s AFSCME versus the state taxpayer. And AFSCME holds extraordinarily more power in the process than the state taxpayers footing the bill.
The outcome of 2016 races in nearby states may result in all states surrounding Illinois becoming Right-to-Work states – leaving Illinois a lone island in a sea of worker freedom. To remain competitive for workers and business, Illinois must consider similar reforms.