SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today praised American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 members’ final ratification of a new union contract covering approximately 35,000 state employees. Negotiations took more than 15 months and the agreement received final ratification by AFSCME members in a vote that concluded yesterday. The agreement is part of the governor’s agenda to restore fiscal stability to Illinois.
“This contract is a win for every taxpayer in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “At a time when our state is facing unprecedented fiscal challenges, this contract will save the state $900 million in healthcare costs and help restore fiscal stability to Illinois. I thank the many hard-working public workers who approved this agreement after many months of difficult negotiations. By coming to the table in good faith we were able to find common ground on a fair and responsible contract.”
AFSCME announced final ratification of the contract today. The approved agreement will result in $900 million in healthcare savings over the life of the contract. The contract implements a new law requiring retirees to begin paying a modest portion of their health insurance premiums starting July 1. In addition, it includes modest Cost of Living Adjustments at a rate of 0 percent, 2 percent and 2 percent. The contract calls for new hires to start three steps lower, which amounts to about 9 percent less starting salary, which will save taxpayers money for years to come.
As part of the agreement, the union and the administration are seeking approximately $140 million in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 wages from the previous contract that remain an obligation of the state. The legislation is House Bill 212, House Amendment 2. The vote for final ratification comes after an agreement was unable to be implemented regarding pay raise litigation that has been tied up in court.