SPRINGFIELD - Although AFSCME Local 31 leaders are confident the courts will rule in their favor and that there's really no reason to be worried yet, union officials appear to be irritated that Governor Quinn effectively terminated their contract this week when negotiations failed.
"Terminating the contract has little immediate practical effect, as all existing terms and conditions of employment remain in place under state law. But it signals the Quinn Administration’s lack of respect for the collective bargaining process," a press statement said.
“In 40 years of collective bargaining, Pat Quinn is the first and only Illinois governor to terminate a union contract,” AFSCME executive director Henry Bayer said. “His action will heighten employee frustration, provoke instability in the workplace and make settling a contract more difficult.”
So this Thanksgiving weekend, AFSCME Local 31 is asking Illinoisans to sign their petition in support and thanks for all they do for the people of Illinois. Indeed, the same union workers that picketed the Illinois Capitol alongside SEIU, demanding the 67% state income tax hike and also joining Occupy Now's 99% rallies last fall, are now asking for taxpayer support. Thus far 173 have signed in.
The AFSCME Local 31 petition says:
State employees are always at work helping us -- even on holidays. They keep us safe, care for veterans and the disabled, and protect children from abuse. They keep our air and water clean, solve crimes, respond to emergencies and much more. Any time of the day or night, every day of the year.
But this week, Governor Pat Quinn terminated their union contract. No Illinois Governor has ever done this before. It's an attack on the collective bargaining rights of workers who serve our families in every community in this state.
Sign to say that on this Thanksgiving, you're thankful for the service and sacrifice of state employees. Let them know you stand with them for fairness.