Illinois union negotiations at an impasse

Bruce Rauner

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Illinois Labor Relations Board has declared contract negotiations between Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration and the state’s largest public-employees union at an impasse.

Tuesday’s decision allows the Republican governor to impose his terms on the 38,000-member state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. That gives the union the opportunity to accept the terms or vote to go on strike. Either side may appeal in court.

The last contract expired in June 2015 and Rauner broke negotiations in January. AFSCME claims its members are still willing to talk but that Rauner’s terms are “extreme” – including a steep increase in health insurance costs while freezing wages for four years.

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly says executing the governor’s terms will save the state $3 billion over four years.

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