Unes Commends Progress with ongoing State Contract Negotiation

Pekin, IL … State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) on Friday commended progress made between  AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees), and the Governor for coming to an agreement on an indefinite extension of the tolling agreement, relieving fears that negotiations will end on September 30th.
Yesterday, the Rauner Administration and AFSCME agreed to an indefinite extension of the tolling agreement that was set to expire Sept. 30th.  This is an enforceable, binding contract that Rep. Unes personally intervened on to secure an indefinite extension commitment from the administration. “I am proud to have helped secure this agreement in a timely fashion,” said Unes.
Unes announced last week he had worked to secure a written agreement by the Governor to an indefinite extension of the tolling agreement in order to avoid an unnecessary work interruption.  “The concerns and comments made by public employees did not fall on deaf ears.  I listened and took them to heart.  I believe that with this important letter of commitment, there is a stronger likelihood of an agreement within the current collective bargaining framework.  I now ask both sides to take a renewed effort to collectively work together toward an agreed contract,” Unes continued.
Last week, Unes explained, “Both sides say they do not want an impasse, lockout, or strike.  Both sides state that they want fair negotiations to continue.  One of the most consistent concerns I have heard from public employees has been that the Governor will force a strike by issuing a ‘last and best’ offer when the current Tolling Agreement expires on September 30th.  I personally took this concern to the Governor.  Yesterday’s agreement prohibits a unilateral implementation of what is known as the ‘last, best and final offer’.  To do so without mutual consent or approval of the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) would violate this tolling agreement.  I am proud to have heard public employees on this issue and through my personal intervention I fought hard to secure this additional commitment from the Administration.”
Rep. Unes hopes that this show of cooperation will keep both parties at the negotiating table until a final agreement has been reached in order to avoid further interruption to state services to our most vulnerable residents.
For more information on this or any other state issues, contact Rep. Unes’ Pekin District Office at 309-620-8631.