Leef slams AFSCME's 'cavalier attitude,' 'ridiculous demands' amid budget crisis
Dr. Jeffrey Leef, Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional District U.S. House seat, commented on the impasse in negotiations between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) recently.
The union hasn't had a contract in place since July 1, 2015. When the parties met at the bargaining table, the union demanded pay hikes, paid overtime past 37.5 hours per week and better pension benefits. In turn, Rauner offered to let AFSCME members keep their current wages and perks under a four-year wage freeze, citing a desire to avoid massive layoffs.
After more than a year at the bargaining table, the only progress made are the three tolling agreements that kept state workers on the job while negotiations continued. Leef expressed outrage at the union's demands.
"Governor Rauner is not only justified in rejecting the ridiculous demands of the AFSCME, but should go much further in his counter offer," Leef said. "As the largest union in Illinois asks for salary increases for employees who already have the highest paychecks and best perks of any union worker in the entire U.S., it maintains its cavalier attitude as it callously observes the state's fiscal death spiral. Not only should salaries be dropped, the work week lengthened to 40 hours ( oh my!), and rules regarding attendance be created and adhered to, but politicians that pander to the union's ludicrous demands while maintaining that they are helping the middle class should be promptly removed from office."