Are 67 bargaining sessions enough? That’s what Gov. Bruce Rauner says.
But before the Chicago Teachers Union held its strike in 2012 the union tells NBC 5 there were 138 bargaining meetings between the teachers and the city. Rauner’s administration walked away from the AFSCME negotiations 15 months ago.
The state’s largest union recently revealed 81 percent of their members approve a strike as contract talks have reached this impasse. Currently, the bargaining committee is meeting to review the next steps, according to AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall.
Gov. Rauner says the strike vote will not bring him back to the bargaining table.
"There’s not going to be more negotiations," Rauner said. "We should implement our new contract. It’s reasonable. It’s fair.”
This week the governor’s office released a jobs website to hire replacement workers in case of a strike.
“People from across the state have applied to work for the state through our new jobs portal, and we are pleased to say that in just three days we’ve already received more than 1,700 submissions from Illinoisans wanting to work on behalf of their fellow citizens," spokesperson Catherine Kelly said in a statement.
Lindall says “it’s certainly taken us longer to get other major agreements settled.”
"What’s important to keep at it until you get to an agreement," he added. "We can’t do that here since Rauner walked away and refuses to even meet, much less compromise."