FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 28, 2013
AFP: Governor Averts Strike and Sells Out Illinois Taxpayers
Quinn Caves to Powerful State Employee Union Despite Tough Talk
Springfield, IL – Reacting to reports the Quinn Administration and AFSCME Council 31 have reached a tentative agreement on a state employee contract, Americans for Prosperity – Illinois expressed their disappointment in the lack of openness in the negotiations and a lack of fiscal realism by Governor Quinn.
“The Governor recently told reporters ‘It’s important that I push for the taxpayers of Illinois,’” said AFP – Illinois State Director David W. From. “Unfortunately, despite his tough talk, Governor Quinn has acquiesced to Springfield’s most powerful special interest and continued our state’s practice of handing out unaffordable raises to unionized government employees.”
The governor had asked state employees to accept a three-year wage freeze and to begin paying for healthcare benefits prompting AFSCME to threaten a statewide strike. Given the struggling economy, unemployment that is higher than the national average, and the disastrous condition of Illinois’ finances, AFP Illinois believed these requests to be reasonable. In fact, they are eminently reasonable considering the average unionized state employee has seen their salary increase by, on average, 4.25% over the past five years while the Consumer Price Index rose by less than half that amount.
Both AFSCME Council 31, which represents some 40,000 state employees, and the Quinn Administration have acknowledged an end to the negotiations which have been ongoing for more than a year with countless fits and starts along the way. The union recently released a memo to its members warning of a looming potential strike, stating “we can’t ensure that those we serve are treated with respect if we don’t get the respect we deserve. That’s why AFSCME members are starting now to prepare for the possibility of a strike.”
“The government-employee unions have yet again secured overly-generous concessions for raises the state cannot afford in closed-door negotiations not open to the public,” continued From. “While the taxpayers of Illinois weren’t represented in these secret sessions, they will certainly pay for the results.”