Some Lawmakers Join State Workers Demanding Raises

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Thousands of state workers are still fighting for the pay raises the governor canceled this summer, and some lawmakers are now joining the fight.

Thirty-five lawmakers, including senators and representatives of both parties, sent a letter to the governor’s office uring him to make good on the union contracts he violated.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

State Sen. John O. Jones (R-Mount Vernon) admits there is not much sympathy for state workers when everyone is suffering, but a contract is legally binding.

“Maybe this contract shouldn’t have been done to start with, but that’s a different story,” he said. “This contract was done. Everybody that I’ve talked to in my district totally agrees with me once I explain to them that hey, this is a written, binding contract.”

Thousands of state workers were set to receive incremental raises this fiscal year — starting July 1, 2011 — which would have cost the state about $75 million. Gov. Pat Quinn last summer abruptly canceled the raises, claiming lawmakers didn’t give him enough money to pay for them.

Earlier this month, the workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 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.”

Now, state Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline) says there is no point in having a contract if it’s going to be broken.

“You have to honor the contract,” he said. “The contract was signed and agreed upon by both parties. You can’t change the contract in midstream. If you do, then who can trust the state of Illinois?”

The governor’s office says the current situation is being considered as part of negotiations for next year’s contract. But Jacobs questions how anyone can negotiate a new contract in good faith, when the last one was broken.

  • The real James Hamilton

    Maybe Quinn should have thought of this before he dolled out hundreds of millions in tax breaks to Chicago’s corporate welfare plan. I don’t know what Quinn thinks half the time or even if he does think. Hey Quinn excuse me, with all due respect if any is due you, if you don’t know what you are supposed to do in that office would you kindly step down? Brady should have been Governor anyways why don’t you resign before you make things even worse? I guess when you have been so rich all of your life you never had to manage a check book, you just have so much wealth it doesn’t matter. Anyone can write a check Quinn, but the state needs someone in office who can do the math to maintain the account.

    • smash44

      Ignorant Democrats like you make me vomit. Corporate “welfare” as you put it pays for your pathetic worthless existence. Giving raises to state leeches and parasites takes money away from your pathetic worthless existence. Unless of course you’re one of the m. The you don’t deserve a penny.

      • The real James Hamilton

        smash44 your reading comprehension level is obviously out of this world, it’s funny how I sit here and condemn Pat Quinns actions and you call me a democrat while you obviously support everything he is doing. Corporations do not pay for my existence you should try to run a business in this state getting taxed to death while corporations get tax breaks. Quinn is robbing from people who are mentally and physically challenged that haven’t had an opportunity to work in our society, but you don’t care about the man or woman who grows up and can’t function in a money driven society, because of palsy or one of the other many afflictions that are among us. I guess they just more of what you call pathetic, worthless, leeches. I pray you never have a child or grandchild with special needs. It may not be pretty and you may not want to accept it smash44, but there are human beings in this world that need special care. They are the poorest of poor and Quinn is Robbing from them and giving corporations tax breaks and raising MY Taxes I pay my own way smash44 I don’t need Chicago or any corporation. You should try getting a real job, try running a business in this state and struggle with taxes going up while corporations get tax breaks yeah I call that Corporate Welfare!

    • The real James Hamilton

      P.S. I hope the legislation goes through to separate Chicago from Illinois and I hope to see you go with Chicago after all they are the only ones who voted for your truly sorry sorry self.

  • THEE Yard Ape

    How about lowering OUR state income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc.?? That would amount to a raise for US, the tax payers that these worthless public sector union parasites are supposed to work for!!!!!! Where are OUR raises you POS ??? I’ll ask the same of the @ ss holes at CPS!!!!!!

    This state needs to collaspe, and I hope I’m able to get out of it before it does. Again, I want to thank all of you that vote democratic

  • Jim

    They don’t follow the constitution for the taxpayers so why should they follow through on a stupid little union contract?

    We, the People of the State of Illinois – grateful to
    Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty
    which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing
    upon our endeavors – in order to provide for the health,
    safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative
    and orderly government (DEFINITELY NOT OURS); eliminate poverty and inequality (PUBLIC SECTOR & PRIVATE ARE NOT EQUAL);
    assure legal, social and economic justice; provide
    opportunity for the fullest development of the individual (QUINN IS AGAINST SMALL BUSINESSES);
    insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense;
    and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves
    and our posterity – do ordain and establish this Constitution
    for the State of Illinois.

  • Afro

    I’m glad to see Chicago has so much extra cash to throw around on things like this.

    Posted by Jon McClellan (Diary)

    Thursday, February 9th at 11:30AM EST
    Recommenders: Viet71 (Diary)

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  • righttrack

    Although I think that asking for raises in the recession is wrong, the fact remains it was negotiated and agreed upon by both parties. And lawmakers don’t deserve a raise – balance the budget first, get the bills paid, get some cash back into the state coffers, and then come ask me for more money. I’ll still say no, but at least the lawmakers would show some effort on their part first.

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