• Weeks after ratification, AFSCME contract not signed

    by  • April 26, 2013 • News

    Despite being ratified weeks ago, the new contract between the State and AFSCME has not yet been signed.

    Attorney General Lisa Madigan

    Attorney General Lisa Madigan

    Gov. Pat Quinn wants Attorney General Lisa Madigan to drop a lawsuit over back pay for unionized state workers so he can implement a new state contract he says will save hundreds of millions of dollars.

    But Madigan’s office said Thursday the Attorney General won’t dissolve the legal action until her lawyers know whether lawmakers will agree to find $140 million to pay the back wages that are at the center of the wrangling.

    Quinn and 35,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees agreed to a three-year contract in march after lengthy talks that stretched well past the June 2012 expiration of the prior contract.

    The deal thawed frosty relations between the two sides that were chilled by Quinn’s refusal in 2011 and early 2012 to pay 5.25 percent in raises he had promised the union.

    AFSCME sued and Quinn appealed in January a cook county circuit court ruling that he owed the raises. Now, the union and the governor want the lawsuit withdrawn, but Madigan is waiting.

    Quinn and AFSCME are working on legislation to get approval – a supplemental appropriation – from the General Assembly to pay $140 million in wages owed for the past two years.

    Madigan’s office says the lawsuit is “on hold” while they pursue that deal, but it’s premature to leave the court room.

    News of the contract comes just days after IDOC Budget Chief Brian Gleckler appeared before a Senate committee requesting an additional $48.1 million for the agency due to contractual pay raises that have to be paid to IDOC AFSCME members.

    Gleckler said if the additional money was not appropriated, the agency would not be able to make payroll for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends June 30.