SPRINGFIELD - While service employee unions were successful in holding off pension legislation in the Illinois General Assembly that would negatively affect their members' pensions and benefits, AFSCME Local 31 is frustrated with Governor Pat Quinn's victory that could weaken the union's collective bargaining power.
Quinn has lobbied for SB 1556, a measure AFSCME Local 31 says "will take away bargaining rights from thousands of workers" under the jurisdiction of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer. The legislation passed the Illinois House in the spring of 2011 and passed the Illinois Senate in the last days of the 97th IL General Assembly. Immediately after the Senate vote, sponsor State Senator Don Harmon (D-Chicago) placed a hold on what he referred to as "the management" bill, only to lift it before the session adjourned Tuesday night. SB 1556 will proceed to the Governor.
It allows the governor to deny collective bargaining rights to 3,580 individuals of his choosing in the above categories who meet any one of certain criteria, including anyone in a Rutan-exempt or term appointment position or anyone who has “significant and independent discretionary authority”.
The bill also allows the governor to select 1,900 of those individuals from the first category—individuals already in the union who were certified as union members on or after December 2, 2008.
"At this point, there is no way to know which individuals currently in the union the governor would designate to lose their right to union representation—but certainly every single former merit compensation employee who was certified as a union member on or after December 2, 2008 is at risk," AFSCME Local 31's website says.
The only employees currently in the union that are specifically denied union representation under the terms of this legislation are Legislative Liaisons.
While those numbers are considered minimal, AFSCME sees SB 1556 as a potential wedge and a threat to service employee union solidarity.
The votes in both chambers were between those lawmakers that have been financialy supported by AFSCME and those who haven't - with seeming disregard to party affiliation.