Gov. Quinn, AFSCME, Reach Tentative Agreement
By The Associated Press
Members of the largest state employee union in Illinois and Gov. Pat Quinn's administration have reached a tentative contract agreement.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said Thursday that a deal was reached after midnight. Quinn's office confirmed the agreement.
Details of the three-year contract weren't made public. AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says members must review and ratify the agreement before it's made public.
Negotiations between AFSCME and Quinn's office have been contentious and union members had started preparing for a strike.
“AFSCME is very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that protects our members’ standard of living, and is fair to them and all Illinois citizens, even in these very challenging economic times,” AFSCME Council 31 executive director Henry Bayer said in a press release.
“At a time when the state is facing unprecedented financial challenges, this agreement is fair to both hard-working state employees and all taxpayers of Illinois," Gov. Quinn said. "I want to thank the women and men who have stayed at the table for more than a year for their commitment to reaching an agreement.”
The negotiations came as Quinn has been locked in several battles with AFSCME.
The union opposes efforts to reduce their retirement benefits and increase their health insurance costs, which have been a central theme on pension overhaul talks. Also, the union is angry that Quinn withheld pay raises provided by the last contract.