Hello GSU SUAA Members,
There is an important vote this week in the House related to SB 1229. You may have heard about this bill. It is related to collective bargaining in Illinois and can affect all SURS and SUAA members, both in Illinois and outside, whether in a union or not.
Why? AFSCME negotiates healthcare benefits not only for its members but also for SURS members and SURS retirees. The plans that they negotiate are the ones made available to us. Thanks to the Kanerva case, retirees have reduced charges for their healthcare, a 5% reduction per year of service, but negotiations govern the details of the plan such as deductibles, co-pays, out of pocket expenses, etc..
This is why SB 1229 is of interest. SB 1229 could affect how the ongoing negotiations proceed. SB 1229 is a complicated bill. This is my understanding of how it might affect us. SB 1229 adds a provision to collective bargaining procedures for state employees for the next four years. The provision relates to what happens when the two parties cannot reach an agreement.
Under normal conditions, unions negotiate with employers until they reach a deal on a new contract, which one would expect involves give and take on both sides. If the two sides cannot reach agreement, in most situations the union can go on strike to try to get a better contract. Sometimes, employers "lock out" the employees, a kind of strike by management.
If the governor and the union cannot reach an agreement, under SB 1229, they could opt for binding arbitration. In exchange for adding this new, final step, the union gives up the right to strike and the state pledges not to "lock out" the union members. Illinois has had a similar provision for bargaining with police, fire, and other public safety officers for 30 years. For more details, you can read the entire bill and the list of all the actions taken on it at the Illinois General Assembly web site. The AFSCME web site also addresses the current bargaining situation and SB 1229.
SB 1229 passed the General Assembly on May 31 and was sent to the Governor on June 4. He vetoed the bill on July 29. On August 19, the Senate voted to override the governor’s veto. The House received the bill the next day and will vote on whether to override it in the next few days. An override vote requires a super majority, which appears to be uncertain in the House — close, but . . .
If the House votes to override the governor’s veto of SB 1229, then the bill becomes law and arbitration becomes a possibility to settle the negotiations. If the vote fails, the veto will stand.
Consider where you stand on SB 1229, then let your Representative know now – before the House votes.
To help you locate your representative, you can use the AFSCME locator at