Actually, I wasn't expecting this:
* 5:34 pm - I’ve been working on this for the past couple of hours. Nobody from either side has either been available or has wanted to talk until now. From AFSCME…
QUINN ADMINISTRATION TERMINATES UNION CONTRACT
In an unprecedented step, Governor Pat Quinn’s administration late today terminated state government’s contract with its largest employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31.
“In 40 years of collective bargaining, Pat Quinn is the first and only Illinois governor to terminate a union contract,” AFSCME executive director Henry Bayer said. “His actions will heighten employee frustration, provoke instability in the workplace and make settling a contract more difficult.”….
No word yet on what might happen next. Stay tuned.
* 5:47 pm - The Quinn administration’s response via Abdon M. Pallasch. Asst. Budget Director…
After 11 months of bargaining, we informed AFSCME’s leadership Tuesday that there will be no more extensions of their contract that expired in June.
Governor Quinn has cut state spending down to 2008 levels and proposed closing empty or half-empty, very expensive state facilities that are no longer needed. 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.
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. It has refused to recognize the extraordinary financial crisis squeezing the state.
Why wasn't I expecting this? Because a man who thinks a cartoon python is going to be at all helpful in dealing with public pension costs doesn't seem like the kind of guy to play hardball with public unions.
CapitolFax mentions the next bargaining session is in Dec 11, so I'm sure we'll be hearing more then.
Related: the erosion of public union power with Democratic mayors. (and, obviously, governors). As I noted back when Rahm ran for King of Chicago, he should have taken a clue that Daley was bravely running away…. away from a city that couldn't be milked for sufficient money any more. The good times are over, y'all, as the demographics are coming to bite you in the butt.
In separate union news, there had been a brief ray of light in the Hostess bankruptcy, but it seem liquidation is still the likely result as one union remains recalcitrant.