Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Union Leaders Respond to Quinn Layoffs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Pat Quinn talks about why it's not his fault that raises for almost 30,000 state workers were cut from the Illinois budget. (Published Wednesday, Jul 6, 2011)

    Illinois' largest government-employee union doesn't exactly trust Gov. Pat Quinn's motives for laying off thousands of state workers this week.

    Anders Lindall, AFSCME Council 31 public affairs director, told Ward Room the union "doesn't believe there's a fiscal crisis" forcing pink slips.

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    Lindall says Quinn signed a contract promising he wouldn't lay off workers. Instead he signaled this week that thousands of state employees would be left without a job by the end of the week.

    The cuts are coming in the face of a budget deficit, the governor said, that doesn't leave enough money to pay the workers. Quinn also plans to close a prison, juvenile detention center and homes for the mentally ill.

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    Lindall suggest "it will take leadership" to sidestep the layoffs. But Quinn said Tuesday his hands are tied, insisting lawmakers didn't leave him enough money to keep the state operating for a whole year.

    "It's time to get our fiscal house in order," Quinn said.

    Likewise, GOP State Sen. Matt Murphy hinted that maybe some state services need to close.

    "There are high price tags for labor," Murphy said.