Murphysboro….State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) has issued reaction to an announcement late Thursday afternoon that Governor Rauner and negotiators for the State of Illinois’ largest public employee union, AFSCME, have agreed to extend the terms of the current contract agreement indefinitely until a full contract is ratified.
For months, the Governor’s office and AFSCME have been engaged in negotiations aimed at reaching a new contract for state employees. Information from both sides of the negotiations has been disseminated through various media outlets, with each side accusing the other of refusing to negotiate in good faith and demanding concessions that were unacceptable.
“Throughout the negotiations, I have called on both sides to moderate their tone and to negotiate in good faith and remain at the bargaining table for as long as it takes to come to an agreement,” Bryant said.
In the instance of the attempt to override Governor Rauner’s veto of SB 1229, Bryant remained consistent in not voting on the legislation, insisting that the bill was not necessary if both sides continued good-faith negotiations.
“I have consistently stated that SB 1229 was unnecessary because I believe the contract should be settled through negotiations, not legislative interference,” Bryant said.
On the day of the attempted veto override vote, Bryant received a letter from Governor Rauner stating that he would negotiate in good faith, that he would not force a strike, and that he would not lock out workers, and that he would agree to extend the tolling agreement, or current contract terms, as long as it would take to reach an agreement. A copy of that letter can be found at www.repbryant.com.
“Less than ten days after getting a promise in writing from the Governor to continue negotiating as long as it takes to get an agreement, the administration and AFSCME have agreed to extend the current contract indefinitely until a new contract is reached,” Bryant said. “I believe the Governor has kept his word. I also want to applaud AFSCME for agreeing to stay at the table with the Governor to work this out. The prudent thing to do now is to protect the interests of vital public services provided by AFSCME workers and to be realistic about the financial condition of our beloved state.”