Ward Room
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Quinn a Broken Record on Raise Dispute

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Gov. Pat Quinn tells reporters Tuesday why he decided to cut $75 million in raises for 30,000 state workers.

Pat Quinn reiterated Tuesday that the growing labor impasse between the state and its biggest labor union isn't his fault.

Two hours before state workers planned to picket at 75 Illinois work sites, the Illinois governor maintained he was simply following the law when deciding to cut $75 million in raises for 30,000 workers.

Quinn repeated what he told reporters last week, that the General Assembly didn't appropriate any extra money for raises and that his hands were tied.

"[The Assembly] made it very clear on the last day of the legislature that that's what they were doing," he said.

Quinn didn't back down over the weekend, either, even after the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed a federal lawsuit Friday over the decision to cancel the raises to help deal with the state deficit.

"The law says that subject to appropriations, these raises would be given," Quinn said Saturday. "But the General Assembly did not appropriate the money, the millions of dollars to pay the raises."

Quinn pointed out Tuesday that state union employees got a 2 percent raise on June 1, apparently after it was deferred from a year ago. But when it comes to the $75 million, he said, there's no room to budge.

"I think the union should know," he said, "there's no money to pay the raises."

Quinn said last week he's ready to meet union workers in court to defend the move. On Tuesday he said union workers should contact their local legislator.

AFSCME said in a statement Monday its members already have renegotiated their contract with Quinn and have taken unpaid furlough days and made changes to their health plan to help save money.

Some workers grabbed picket signs ahead of the scheduled mass-protest, shouting, "Fair pay now."

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