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Thursday, 21 November 2013 17:10

Unions plan 'emergency days' to lobby lawmakers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Legislative leaders discussed a developing plan to deal with Illinois' $100 billion pension crisis as the state's biggest employee unions planned a lobbying push to oppose it.

The "We are One Coalition" represents the state's major public employee unions. It alerted members this week about "emergency call-in days" next week and on Dec. 2-3.

Members are being asked to call lawmakers and urge them to vote against pension bills that don't have union support.

Legislative leaders spoke Thursday about a plan they say could save close to $150 billion over 30 years. Officials reported progress but said more meetings are expected. Lawmakers have been alerted about a possible special session on Dec. 3.

Unions say they weren't consulted about the plan and that they think elements of it are unconstitutional.

Published in Local News

   Transit workers in St. Louis appear poised to walk off the job as members of Local 788 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union continue a strike authorization vote Tuesday.  The union represents public transportation workers and any job action could effect Metrobus and Metrolink service.

   Nearly 600 of the 1,500 members cast ballots on Monday. Bus drivers, mechanics, Metrolink operators and clerical staff have all been working without a contract for two and a half years.

   Local 788 President Mike Breihan says he hopes it doesn't come down to a work stoppage.  "You know we really don't want to hurt the public," Breihan said.  "The people out here that ride the bus, they're like our family. And you know we don't want to hurt any of them, but we're going to have to do whatever we can do to protect our own."

   "This vote was just strictly to show that we are united and we're ready to move forward if we have to, to do whatever we need to do to get a contract," Breihan said. "You know we're not trying to rob the bank. All we're trying to do is make a decent living for our members and our families."       

   Breihan says no action will be taken until after a mediator, who is reviewing information submitted by both the Union and Metro, issues an opinion at the end of the month.

 

 

Published in Around Town

   Transit workers in St. Louis appear poised to walk off the job as members of Local 788 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union continue a strike authorization vote Tuesday.  The union represents public transportation workers and any job action could effect Metrobus and Metrolink service.

   Nearly 600 of the 1,500 members cast ballots on Monday. Bus drivers, mechanics, Metrolink operators and clerical staff have all been working without a contract for two and a half years.

   Local 788 President Mike Breihan says he hopes it doesn't come down to a work stoppage.  "You know we really don't want to hurt the public," Breihan said.  "The people out here that ride the bus, they're like our family. And you know we don't want to hurt any of them, but we're going to have to do whatever we can do to protect our own."

   "This vote was just strictly to show that we are united and we're ready to move forward if we have to, to do whatever we need to do to get a contract," Breihan said. "You know we're not trying to rob the bank. All we're trying to do is make a decent living for our members and our families."       

   Breihan says no action will be taken until after a mediator, who is reviewing information submitted by both the Union and Metro, issues an opinion at the end of the month.

 

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill that would require public employee unions to get annual consent from their members to deduct fees automatically from paychecks.

The House passed the measure 85-69 on Monday. It passed the Senate earlier this year.

The legislation would also require public employee unions to get annual consent from members to spend a portion of their fees on political activities.

Organizations representing "first responders," such as police and firefighters, would be exempted from the measure.

Supporters say the measure gives public workers more control over how their union fees spent. Opponents argue it makes it harder for unions to participate in the political process.

 

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois union leaders are encouraging lawmakers to support a pension reform proposal that they recently agreed on with the state's Senate president.

   A coalition of unions announced Monday that it reached an agreement with Senate President John Cullerton on a possible solution to the state's $97 billion pension crisis.

   Michael Carrigan is the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He says the group is trying to ensure fairness for public employees and retirees. The union-backed measure gives workers and retirees a choice of benefit packages.

   Carrigan says the group is asking legislators to oppose a solution that House Speaker Michael Madigan backs. Madigan's plan calls for higher pension contributions from employees and limits on how much in pension benefits retirees may collect.

 
Published in Local News

    The union representing about 800 building and food service workers who went on strike at the University of Illinois earlier this month says they've reached a tentative deal with the school.  Service Employees International Union spokesman Adam Rosen says employees will vote on the four-year offer today and tomorrow.  

     Details of the agreement aren't being released, but University spokesperson Robin Kaler says administrators are optimistic that it will be accepted.

 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Debate has stalled in the Missouri Senate on legislation that Democrats say is part of the state's "war on labor."

Senators stayed late Monday night to debate SB29, legislation that would bar public-sector unions from deducting dues out of employee paychecks.

Republican supporters say the legislation would give public employees the choice of how they want their dues spent. But Democrats blocked a vote on the measure, arguing it would hurt organized labor.

The measure would also require union members to annually give consent for their dues to be spent on political contributions. It would not apply to unions representing "first responders," such as police or firefighters.

The Senate passed a similar measure two years ago, but it died in the House.
Published in Local News

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