State AFSCME union talking possible strike

Feb 19, 2013

Ill. Governor Pat Quinn (credit:

The state's largest public employees' union is talking more about a strike.  Henry Bayer, Executive Director of the AFSCME union, says contract talks with the governor's office are going nowhere.  IPR’s Sean Crawford reports.  

Bayer says a strike is a real possibility,  and he says Governor Quinn is the catalyst.  Bayer says Quinn's termination of the union's previous contract and his attempts to force cuts in pay and benefits has workers ready to go on the picket line.          

 "Well it certainly appears that way.   There's a lot of anger out there as you can imagine.” AFSCME sent a memo to members recently that offered tips on preparing for a strike, such as getting doctor visits done in advance and putting off large purchases. Bayer says AFSCME agreed to put off earlier pay raises to help the state's financial situation.   But he says the latest demands are unacceptable.   

"There just doesn't seem to be any appreciation by the administration for the pressures our members are under, and instead of showing some appreciation and honoring their contract and trying to reach a fair settlement, this governor has just been dismissive." -AFSCME director Henry Bayer

The governor's office says negotiations continue in an effort to reach a contract fair to both union workers and taxpayers. 

AFSCME members would need to vote to go on strike.  No vote has been scheduled.