Is the Governor Turning Illinois Around?
Turning Illinois Upside Down?
All too often we ignore the political debates and rhetoric that surround us in our daily lives. Its not that we don’t care; but who has the time in one’s busy life to pay adequate attention to all the noise? If you are like most people, you are probably aware that the State of Illinois has money problems and that there has been a great deal of dialogue about pensions. And, you may know that there is currently a debate raging in Springfield over the budget, along with threats of government shut downs. If you are like most people, you have heard it all before and after all the scare tactics and doomsday scenarios, things got worked out and life kept going. So why pay attention now?
Why you need to pay attention now is because never before have you had so much at stake and so much to lose. There is currently a very wealthy venture capitalist in the Governor’s Mansion who has very wealthy business friends who has said he wants to "turn Illinois around". In turning things around he has demanded certain changes to state law that directly affect you; and he won’t play ball on the budget unless his demands are met. Here are the issues of harm to you:
Local Control of Collective Bargaining
Currently there is state law that mandates local governments negotiate with their employees. Governor Rauner wants to permit local government to determine if they want to negotiate. Does anyone really think that local government will voluntarily collectively bargain?
Local Control of Pensions and Local Bankruptcy Option
There are certain protections built into state law that controls our pensions, and even with those controls, local governments have been underfunding their pension systems. Local control could eliminate employee representation on pension boards, reduce and/or eliminate future pensions, allow for borrowing of monies from funds, determine number of years until retirement and/or totally eliminate the provision for new hires. And, if local governments are allowed to declare bankruptcy they can underfund your pension, declare bankruptcy and get out of paying anything!
Local Control of Competitive Bidding
Currently there are state protections in place requiring governmental units to engage in competitive bidding to invite competition, guard against favoritism, fraud and corruption, and to secure the best work or supplies at the lowest price practicable. Sounds reasonable, so why suggest a change? Could it be that well connected political businesses are not able to maximize their profits under current law? So now your employer is purchasing million dollar toilet seats while they can’t afford to provide you a living wage???
Changes to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act
Make work rules (including overtime, subcontracting, and filling of vacancies a permissive rather than mandatory subject of collective bargaining.
Currently your employer must negotiate over certain matters. These matters are considered mandatory subjects of bargaining. A mandatory subject of bargaining doesn’t mean you automatically get what you want, but forces your employer to discuss the issues with you. By changing certain issues to permissive subjects of bargaining, your employer can simply say they do not want to discuss the matter. Imagine your overtime provisions simply going away!
Exclude healthcare and pension benefits from the collective bargaining process.
Again, one needs to ask themselves; will I even have a pension or healthcare after Illinois gets "turned around"?
There is much more to the debate, however these are the issues that will hurt you the most. It’s easy to ignore all the noise... We are used to it... But this time the noise can cause you irritable harm... It’s deafening...