The state’s public employee unions have a message for Gov. Pat Quinn: don’t AFSCME for any help in 2014.
Quinn’s upset election victory in 2010 was the result of precinct work by public employees, which was especially helpful Downstate, where a lot of state workers live, and where most voters were ready to vote for Zippy the Pinhead over Pat Quinn. If any politician ever owed a special interest a favor, Pat Quinn owed the public employee unions.
But not only is Quinn now refusing to dance with the ones what brung him, he’s ditching them at the prom. After a failed bargaining session, Quinn refused to extend the union’s expired contract a third time.
“During 11 months of bargaining, the state has extended the contract three times and made significant efforts to compromise. But the government employees union, which has not offered a single proposal to deal with retirement health care, continues to seek millions of dollars in pay hikes the taxpayers can’t afford to give them,” said Quinn budget spokesman Abdon Pallasch. “It has refused to recognize the extraordinary financial crisis squeezing the state.”
The response from AFSCME executive director Henry Bayer: “While AFSCME is committed to reaching a fair agreement, Pat Quinn seems bent on heading in the wrong direction. Our union wants constructive engagement but the governor is choosing confrontation instead.”
Last year, Quinn reneged on promised raises for 40,000 employees. Quinn has declared he’s running for re-election in 2014, so he must be calculating that taking on the public employee unions is better politics than giving them everything they want. It always looks good for a politician to tell one of his party’s special interests to stuff it. The Republicans will be sending out an A candidate next time, so Quinn had better look like he’s done something to close the state’s $8 billion budget gap.