SPRINGFIELD - Last Wednesday before adjourning for the week, House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) presented HJR 45, a resolution informing the Governor that no wage increases should be included in ongoing negotiations with the AFSCME and SEIU union representatives, who have balked at an agreement with no wage increases.
AFSCME alone was budgeted to receive $2.762,956,700 from taxpayers in 2012 before the General Assembly made budget cuts, HJR 45 notes. It also points out the AFSCME employees averaged a 4.25% COLA increase over the past five years while the Consumer Price Index averaged 1.95% from 2007 to 2010. In other words, the union members have been receiving wage increases while the rest of the working public's wages have remained overall stagnant.
HJR 45 passed the Illinois House with a vote of 84-29. Despite the state's dire budget situation, House members on both sides of the aisle were reluctant to vote for HJR 45 because, they said, Illinois' healthcare costs, groceries and gasoline have continued to rise in price over the past 12 months. Union employees complain that they are unable to keep up with the rising cost of living.
Those House members that sympathized with union members and opposed restraining AFSCME and SEIU wage increases in FY13 included 14 House Republicans: Mike Bost, Rich Brauer, Adam Brown, John Cavaletto, Norine Hammond, Sid Mathias, Bill Mitchell, Jerry Mitchell, Don Moffitt, Raymond Poe, David Reis, Wayne Rosenthal, Skip Saviano and Dave Winters -whose vote was especially notable, since he was also listed as a co-sponsor of HJR 45.
Fourteen Democrats opposed their Speaker and joined Republicans the measure: Dan Beiser, Jerry Costello, Anthony DeLuca, Kenneth Dunkin, La Shawn Ford, Jack Franks, Esther Golar, Eddie Jackson, Charles Jefferson, Rita Mayfield, Brandon Phelps, Al Riley, Elgie Sims and Patrick Verschoore.
HJR 45 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Executive Committee this coming week and its sponsorship in the Senate is Senate President John Cullerton.