AFSCME: New Illinois jobs site seeks ‘strike breakers’

By Jean Lotus Staff Reporter

Screenshot of Working for a Better Illinois website. (Chronicle Media)

A new “State Jobs” online portal published Feb. 28 by the office of Gov. Bruce Rauner, is an attempt to intimidate 38,000 state union employees during tumultuous union negotiations, said a union leader.

Calling the site a “job portal aimed at recruiting strikebreakers,” Roberta Lynch, executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31, said the governor was looking for unqualified temporary employees.

“AFSCME members investigate child abuse, care for veterans and the disabled, respond to emergencies and more,” said Lynch. “These jobs require years of experience and training. It shows just what kind of a person Bruce Rauner really is that he would seek unskilled temporary strikebreakers to do these highly sensitive jobs rather than simply sit down with state employees and work constructively to reach a fair contract settlement.”

The Working for a Better Illinois website at asks for contact information for people seeking employment with the State of Illinois.

“In the event of a labor strike, the State will use this information to match citizens’ interests with the State’s needs,” the site says.

Catherine Kelly, Rauner’s spokesperson, did not return inquiries about the site before press time.

AFSCME members authorized a strike vote Feb. 23 with 81 percent approval. It was the first ever strike authorization in Illinois employee history, according to AFSCME.

The union negotiations have been ongoing since summer of 2015.

Rauner wants state employees to shoulder more of their health insurance costs, which AFSCME says will average a salary loss of  $10,000 per year for workers. Rauner has said since his election to office that state union employees are overpaid, compared to public sector employees. Rauner also wants employees to work 40 hours before claiming overtime, instead of 37.5. The governor and AFSCME also disagree on contract protections against privatization.

Lynch said AFSCME members have repeatedly stressed that they do not want to have to strike. Rauner’s online call for strikebreakers was “illegal,” she said.

“Instead of trying to intimidate workers with illegal threats, Bruce Rauner should simply do his job: Negotiate with us toward a compromise that’s fair to all,” Lynch said.








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