Some unionized state workers still waiting for promised raises

Oct 28, 2013

Illinois lawmakers still have yet to fund long-promised raises for certain state employees. As IPR'S Brian Mackey reports, it’s affecting thousands of unionized workers.

The raises were negotiated under the Blagojevich administration, but it was Gov. Pat Quinn who starting in 2011 said he didn’t have the money to pay them. The AFSCME union sued, and a judge ordered the state to pay, with interest.

Then, as a part of the most recent labor contract, Quinn changed course, even agreeing to ask the legislature for extra money to pay the raises. So far lawmakers have refused though it could happen during their fall session.

Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, says he and some colleagues might be unwilling to go along since they did not have a say in agreeing to the raises.

“Perhaps a governor, before he or she negotiates a contract with the public employees’ labor union, they should find out if the General Assembly is willing to fund that contract.”

Some unionized workers did get raises after their agencies moved money around to fund them. But the total for those who didn’t is about $100 million, and growing.