Quinn Ends State's Contract With AFSCME

Gov. Pat Quinn has ended the state's contract with its largest employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The contract was set to expire in June but has been extended several times. Quinn's office said he informed union leadership Tuesday that there would be no further extentions, arguing that during 11 months of negotiations, the union has been unwilling to compromise.

From Abdon Pallasch, the governor's assistant budget director:

After decades of mismanagement, he state is behind on $8 billion dollars of payments to vendors including social service agencies. And the state’s pension shortfall has risen to $96 billion – the worst of the 50 states.

... 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. It has refused to recognize the extraordinary financial crisis squeezing the state.

The union, of course, doesn't see it that way.

"While AFSCME is committed to reaching a fair agreement, Pat Quinn seems bent on heading in the wrong direction," AFSCME director Henry Bayer said. "Our union wants constructive engagement but the governor is choosing confrontation instead."

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