AFSCME files suit over plan to cancel raises

July 8, 2011 8:55:22 PM PDT
AFSCME has filed suit over Governor Pat Quinn's plan to cancel raises for 30,000 state workers.

On Thursday, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) asked an arbitrator to decide whether Quinn can cancel the scheduled raises. The union says that violates their contract.

"They deserve not only to be paid in accordance with their contract, but they deserve the respect of knowing their boss the govenor wioll stand behind the word that he gives them," said Anders Lindall of AFSCME Council 31.

Prison guards are among the 30,000 employees who were supposed to get 2-percent pay increases last week.

The governor says he doesn't have the money and is not backing down from his plan.

Friday evening, Governor Quinn's spokesman Grant Klinzman issued the following statement:

"Last week we notified the directors of 14 agencies and the impacted unions that approximately 30,000 state employees will not be receiving pay raises in the new fiscal year. The fiscal year 2012 budget does not provide the money to fund these raises, and doing so would mean that the 14 impacted agencies would not be able to make payroll for the entire year, preventing them from continuing to provide core services to the people of Illinois. The administration will take the necessary steps to manage the fiscal year 2012 budget."

AFSCME filed suit in federal court in Springfield, asking the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois to rescind the pay freeze. AFSCME claims the governor's action is unconstitutional.

Quinn says the law is clear that the legislature has to provide money for the raises. The total cost was $75 million.

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