AFSCME en Republicans Want State Worker Wages Paid With Extra State Cash <p>A report says Illinois officials can look forward to more than a billion dollars in tax collections they hadn't been expecting this year. A group of lawmakers already has a plan for the money.</p><p></p><p>Thousands of state workers are owed an estimated 112 million dollars in back wages. Governor Pat Quinn negotiated raises with members of AFSCME back before the 2010 elections, but lawmakers never came through with the money to pay them.</p><p>Now some Republicans say this year's unexpected tax windfall ought to be used to finally make good on the contract.</p> Wed, 07 May 2014 22:58:26 +0000 Lee Strubinger 24646 at Republicans Want State Worker Wages Paid With Extra State Cash Dillard's AFSCME Endorsement: Too Little, Too Late? <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Republican candidate for governor Kirk Dillard has picked up the endorsement of the the state's largest government-employee union. But with less than two weeks until the election, Brian Mackey asks if it's too little, too late.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Dillard's endorsement from </span>AFSCME<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> comes after front runner Bruce </span>Rauner<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> has been blanketing the state with television ads for months.</span></p> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 17:56:49 +0000 Brian Mackey 20299 at Dillard's AFSCME Endorsement: Too Little, Too Late? Madigan: Courts Could Pick And Choose On Pension Plan <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Illinois legislators may have passed a pension overhaul, but unions representing teachers and public employees have vowed to sue to stop it from taking effect. If they're successful, that could force lawmakers to go back to the drawing board.</p> Wed, 04 Dec 2013 22:52:28 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 14334 at Madigan: Courts Could Pick And Choose On Pension Plan Strange Bedfellows Could Kill Leaders' Pension Deal <p>Illinois legislators will be asked today (12/3) to take what many say could be the most important vote of their careers. They've been called back to Springfield to take up a measure that would drastically alter the state's retirement plans. Doing so would have obvious ramifications for state employees, teachers and university workers whose pensions are at stake. But the impact of a vote is far more widespread. What happens could also affect everything from the state's credit rating and Illinois' next budget, to the 2014 elections. The outcome is anything but certain.</p> Tue, 03 Dec 2013 12:21:51 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 14208 at Strange Bedfellows Could Kill Leaders' Pension Deal Unions Plan "Emergency" Lobby Days Over Pensions <p>Illinois unions are planning an intensive lobbying push in opposition to a developing plan to deal with the state's $100 billion pension crisis. &nbsp;</p><p>The ``We are One Coalition'' represents the state's major employee unions. The group sent an email to members about ``emergency call-in days'' next week and Dec. 2-3. &nbsp;</p><p>Members are being asked to call and visit lawmakers' offices and urge them to vote against pension bills that don't have union support. Legislative leaders are meeting Thursday to firm up a plan that could save close to $150 million over 30 years. &nbsp;</p> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 18:03:26 +0000 Associated Press 13491 at Unions Plan "Emergency" Lobby Days Over Pensions Old Union Pay Raises Still In Limbo <p>Union workers are <a href="">still</a> fighting for raises they were owed starting in 2011, but have <a href="">never</a> been paid. A court has ruled in their favor, but the Illinois legislature is still debating whether to make good.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">To finally settle the pay raise issue, lawmakers would have to come up with about $100 million.</span></p> Mon, 28 Oct 2013 16:35:06 +0000 Brian Mackey 11849 at Old Union Pay Raises Still In Limbo AFSCME's Henry Bayer Talks Pensions <p>Henry Bayer is the Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.&nbsp; The role puts the union leader in the middle of several battles over benefits and working conditions.&nbsp; That includes the current dispute involving public pensions.</p> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 11:04:00 +0000 Sean Crawford 11086 at AFSCME's Henry Bayer Talks Pensions Public vs. Private Job To Scrub State Medicaid Rolls <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Illinois' attempts to remove ineligible people from the state's Medicaid rolls are on hold, as Illinois and its largest public employees' union fight over who should actually do the scrubbing. The state says it will appeal a ruling that says it has to cancel its $77 million dollar contract with an outside firm.</p><p>Big changes are ahead for Medicaid, the state's health insurance program for the poor. Hundreds of thousands of residents are expected to be added to the rolls under the federal health care law.</p> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 23:49:45 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 9072 at Public vs. Private Job To Scrub State Medicaid Rolls In Some Illinois Prisons, Two Meals A Day <p></p><p>More and more prisoners in Illinois are being served brunch, eating two meals a day instead of three. Prison officials say it's actually better for many inmates.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Feeding prisoners is a lot of work — not only cooking and cleaning up, but moving inmates from cells or dorms over to the mess hall.</span></p><p>Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says at some prisons, breakfast is served at 4 a.m., which means moving inmates in the dark.</p> Mon, 16 Sep 2013 11:35:00 +0000 Brian Mackey 8934 at In Some Illinois Prisons, Two Meals A Day Business Group Refuses Comment on Bond Accusation <p>An influential group of business executives is declining to comment on the possibility it helped to lower Illinois' credit rating. But public employees’ unions are calling for an investigation.</p><p>The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago — and one of its leaders, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner — were early leaders of the charge to do something about the state's underfunded pensions.</p><p>Fahner's been one of the most vocal advocates of doing not just something, but something major, to bring down the state's pension costs.</p> Fri, 26 Jul 2013 23:11:08 +0000 Amanda Vinicky 6361 at