The end of this month marks the end of a 4-year contract with the state’s largest union for public service workers.
The AFSCME State of Illinois Bargaining Committee has been at the bargaining table for months. Workers from AFSCME Local 38 took to the corner of Morton Avenue and Main Street to let people know they want a fair contract with the state yesterday afternoon.
President of Local 38 Shelly Hoots says yesterday’s demonstration was a rally to raise awareness to the public and to get ready to head to the bargaining table through the remainder of the week: “In this contract, we are looking for more hiring. The staffing shortages around the state are really bad. We are looking for fair health insurance and fair wages. Inflation has skyrocketed 9%. We are looking for them to sit with us and negotiate a fair contract. That’s all.”
Governor J.B. Pritzker has said that the recently passed $50.4 billion state budget accounts for a new contract with AFSCME. Republicans in the super minority in the state have asserted that the costs of the contract are going to be higher than what was allotted in the budget, and would likely pave the way for a tax increase.
Hoots says the negotiations with the administration since the beginning of the year have been slow at best.