Illinois AFT Union Officials Plan Battle
The three most powerful government employee union officials are gearing up to attempt to preserve their powerful kingdom in Illinois. Currently, union officials can garner tribute from every Illinois public employee by forcing them to pay forced dues or join up.
Governor-elect Bruce Rauner, however, has indicated he will restrict government employee union power by reforming state pension plans and establishing Right To Work zones across the state. While American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employee International Union (SEIU) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) reluctantly backed sitting Governor Pat Quinn, they fear a formidable opponent in Bruce Rauner. Amien Essie has the view from the other side in In These Times Online.
AFSCME’s and other unions’ efforts failed to prevent Rauner’s victory over Quinn, and Illinois public employees now face an uncertain future. When their contract expires in July 2015, workers will have to renegotiate with a governor who has questioned the very validity of collective bargaining rights for public employees (and even refused to say whether he believes such rights are valid for any kind of worker).
The union is planning to meet with Rauner for the first time in early December to talk contracts. In preparation, the 200-plus members of the AFSCME contract team convened in Springfield, Illinois, last week to hold a “demands meeting.”