SPRINGFIELD - AFSCME Council 31 leaders told their members last week to prepare for a strike. Today they're sounding the alarm that House Speaker Mike Madigan may be moving a shell bill that could be filled with legislation restricting collective bargaining on health care issues.
While Madigan's name isn't specifically mentioned in the alert, it's clear to anyone that knows the Illinois House who decides when and how major legislation like restricting union members' rights moves. Frustration with the Illinois Democrat majority - that AFSCME helped put in place - is becoming more and more evident as seen in their message:
URGENT: Strong rumors in the state Capitol indicate that legislation stripping state employees of their right to collective bargaining over health care costs and benefits could be moved in the House of Representatives as soon as today. Your action is needed NOW to prevent its passage.
At this point there is no substantive language or a specific bill. But a shell bill that could be the legislative vehicle passed out of committee on Tuesday night, Feb. 26. Substantive language could be added to this or other legislation and called for a vote of the full House chamber at any time. If passed by the House, the bill would go to the Senate.
This is a direct attack on state workers’ fundamental right to collective bargaining. Negotiating health care benefits and coverage is just as vital as bargaining over wages and other benefits.
Call your state representative and senator NOW!
AFSCME's instructions to its members are to:
Make two calls now, first to your state representative, then to your senator. Tell them:
- I urge you to OPPOSE ANY BILL that would strip state employees of the guaranteed right to bargain over health care.
- Any legislation of this kind is an attack on the basic right of workers to bargain collectively. If such a bill becomes law, health care could only be negotiated if Governor Quinn chose to do so.