Public Employee Union: Where’s Our Pay Raise?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Big corporations got tax breaks last year, and the state’s largest public employee union is still asking, what about us?

As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, hundreds of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 members demanded their promised pay raises during a rally in a mostly empty capitol building. Henry Bayer, Council 31’s executive director, says the governor is being disingenuous by cancelling raises for front line workers due to lack of funds, yet finding money for corporate tax breaks.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

“Labor comes before capital,” Bayer said. “This governor gave $300 million to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Frontline workers… he can pay them what they’re owed. They certainly deserve it, and they certainly need it a lot more than the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.”

The union delivered a “collection notice” of sorts to the governor’s office. It read:

“This is an attempt to collect a debt. On behalf of 30,000 Illinois state employees who care for the most vulnerable, keep prisons safe and much more, we are seeking to uphold and enforce our legally binding collective bargaining agreement with the State of Illinois and you, Gov. Quinn. You say you ‘believe in the right of working people to organize’ and that unions exist to ‘make sure people get a decent wage.’ Yet you have failed to comply with our union contract and the law with respect to the pay schedule of the men and women who do the real work of state government. Instead you have chosen to provoke a costly court battle. Please immediately remit the amount you owe in full.”

AFSCME members left the capitol after they said the governor’s staff refused to meet with them. A spokeswoman for the governor says she tried, but she wanted to meet with director Bayer and a small group – not hundreds of protestors, as she says AFSCME demanded. She says a “meeting” with a sea of protestors wouldn’t have been productive.

  • GrammarCop

    Unions never cease to amaze me!!! First, the public sector unions make in excess of 20% more than their private sector counterparts. Second, HELLO THERE’S A RECESSION!!! Tax breaks to corporations are not synonymous with pay raises for the entitled!!!

  • Just the average joe

    Most of us agree that we dont need to hand out tax breaks, but we also think the government workers are just the other pigs at the trough of greed. They need to be thankful they have a job, particularly a job with those benefits and retirement.

    • Tom

      just so you know you don’t fund my pension. Your very under informed. The 8.5 % that they deduct from my pay is what funds my pension. You must listen to that left wing retoric in the news instead of informing yourself before you spout off.

      • Just the average joe

        Tom, you don’t understand math. Your 8.5% contribution can’t fund your pension no matter how much you say it will. Do this, take your highest single years earnings and assume you made the 8.5 contribution at that amount for every year you worked. Then see if that sum will pay your pension for ten years. I bet it wont because your pension check will eat it up in hort order, which means the rest is on the taxpayer.

      • Working for nothing


        If you don’t like you pension then join the rest of us where Social Secuirty will disappear and we have no one to fall back on like public servants do to real taxpayers.

  • john

    Too bad, so sad. You are not getting any payback on your campaign contribution to Quinn just before he gave the sweet heart deal to the state employees. You helped elect the idiot. We are paying 2% more in income tax just to fund your pension. what part of broke don[t you understand?

  • tom sharp

    Don’t vote for Quinn. Vote for a “recall.” There are no bigger liars and thieves in the world than the Illinois Democratic Party. Figure it out people!

  • THEE Yard Ape


  • David

    Most people do not understand that the state is playing both sides of the argument against one another. I am a conservative that works for the state. Years ago I had a choice to go either in to the private sector or state. I had a college degree, anyway the state competed with private enterprise to recruit employees for degreed jobs by offering good benefits and the promise of security. Since I had a child I opted for the state employment. At the time, and this was almost 30 years ago, the retirement system was in good shape financially. Over the years the politicians took the money from the retirement system to fund entitlement programs and did not pay the money back. Now they are playing the game of public opinion by vilifying the state worker as the problem and the public. The ones who do not look very deep into any situation are buying into the argument. I do not like being associated with the union. As a matter of fact, when I was hired my position was non-union. The union. mainly AFSCME, was successful in getting most jobs in the state either on board with the union or the position eliminated. This was done with the approval of the politicians, including republican governors and members of congress. Had I known 15 years ago the state of this state was going to be in such terrible shape, I would have left and gone into private enterprise. Now the politician have the perfect scapegoat and since the state is in such financial shape it is easy to sway the easily convinced into believing the employee is the problem. Although the UNION is extremely complicit in all of this, and I do believe they keep incompetent people employed all for the sake of union dues, the blame lies with the politicians, who never want to take the blame for their actions and the actions of their predecessors.

  • juju

    I see we have another official moronic response from the Yard Ape. Or as his friends call, the Butt Buddy.

  • Some Lawmakers Join State Workers Demanding Raises « CBS Chicago

    […] Earlier this month, the workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipa… It read: […]

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