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State

Illinois board moves forward with union employee pay raises

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – The Illinois Labor Relations Board is moving forward with certain salary increases for unionized state workers.

About 15,000 union members are eligible for the step increases, which are automatic raises workers receive sometime during the first decade of their careers.

The board rejected a request from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration to hold another hearing about the issue before money is paid out, the State Journal-Register reported. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees called the administration’s move a stalling tactic.

“Our union will keep doing everything possible to make sure that employees are placed on the correct step and made whole for the increases they’ve been denied,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said in a statement.

The Rauner administration stopped awarding step increases in 2015 after the state’s contract with the union expired. The courts ruled that the old contract’s terms still applied while a new one is being negotiated.

The board has sent the issue to a compliance officer to determine how much employees should receive, according to the union. AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said the step increases are estimated to cost $415 million.

The board will formally make its referral next month. The union will then have to file a petition to create a plan for the payments. The compliance officer will have 75 days to respond to the proposal.

Rauner spokeswoman Rachel Bold said the board’s next steps “will help determine how we wi6ll proceed.”

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com

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