Gov. Pat Quinn is not backing down on his decision to block raises for roughly 33,000 state employees.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed a federal lawsuit Friday over the governor's decision to cancel $75 million in raises for thousands of workers. The suit asks a federal judge to rescind the pay freeze.
But the governor maintains that he's just following the law.
"The law says that subject to appropriations, these raises would be given. But the General Assembly did not appropriate the money, the millions of dollars to pay the raises," Quinn said Saturday at a bill-signing event promoting electric vehicles.
The Associated Press, however, says Quinn's contention "isn't entirely accurate:"
Lawmakers cut spending for salaries despite the scheduled raises, but budgets don’t distinguish between regular salaries and raises. Quinn decides how to spend the money. He could have cut some jobs and used the limited money available to pay the full raises to remaining employees. Or he could have paid the higher salaries and come back to lawmakers in October to request more money. He also could have vetoed the budget.
AFSCME Council 31 executive director Henry Bayer has said Quinn is violating a "fairly bargained and legally binding" contract.
The union said the arbitrator wants briefs from the state and the union by July 16, when he could rule or decide to have an evidentiary hearing. The arbitrator’s ruling can be appealed in state court.