CHICAGO–Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher in response to news that Bruce Rauner was engineering an impasse ruling in negotiations with AFSCME Council 31:
“Gov. Rauner’s assault on working families and the middle class continues through his effort to force impasse in contract negotiations with AFSCME, the state workers who provide vital services to residents of Illinois. The 91,000 workers we represent stand in solidarity with AFSCME and all of organized labor in Illinois who find ourselves under attack by this governor.
“Like AFSCME, we have for months been in negotiations for our 53,000 state home healthcare and child care providers who are working without a contract. Likewise, we have faced similar hostility and extremism. In our case, Governor Rauner is attempting to destabilize the care-giving safety net in Illinois with demands to destroy health care coverage for more than 10,000 providers; to remove their vital training; to defy new federal guidelines to pay workers the overtime they are owed; and to freeze wages for the lowest-paid workers in the state, many of whom already live in poverty.
“What Governor Rauner has done to AFSCME, and what he has demanded at the bargaining table from us, will not fix the state’s long-term structural problems and have nothing to do with the budget. We urge Governor Rauner to abandon his political vendetta, to stop using vulnerable people as pawns and to return to negotiations in a spirit of good faith and compromise, characteristics that seem to find no place in his Illinois.”