AFSCME members have ratified a new three-year contract, which Governor Pat Quinn describes as the best deal for taxpayers in Illinois history, as the union agrees to cutbacks that Quinn says will save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.
The deal includes no cost of living increase in the first year, and just two-percent in each of the remaining two years of the pact. In addition, starting pay for new hires will be cut by as much as nine-percent from current levels. And retirees -- many of whom currently pay no health care premium -- will have to start paying something toward their insurance, effective July 1st.
In exchange, Quinn agrees to seek funding for pay raises that were promised under past contracts, but which were not paid because lawmakers did not appropriate the money for them. The deal was worked out during a contentious 15-month negotiation, said to be the longest in state history.