Bill giving AFSCME workers back pay passes House - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Bill giving AFSCME workers back pay passes House

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SPRINGFIELD -- The largest union of state workers could receive millions of dollars they were promised years ago under a bill passed in the House.

The bill dedicates $63 million for raises promised to AFSCME workers in 2011, raises they never actually got.

AFSCME representative Jeremy Noelle said the money for union workers in House Bill 4290 is long overdue, and he's calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the bill if it passes in the Senate.

"He should take this a very overwhelmingly show of support for this bill, I mean, again, that is huge to get 98 votes," Noelle said.

Every lawmaker representing a district south of I64 were among the 98 votes in the House, except Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro), but she says she couldn't vote for the bill because she was a state worker in 2011, even though she supports it.

Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) is co-sponsoring the bill in the Senate.

"This is long overdue," Schimpf said. "The Illinois Supreme Court has said that this is a valid, contractual debt that the State of Illinois owes to some of its workers."

Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) has also signed on as a co-sponsor.

"These wages have been promised to them and it's the state of Illinois' obligation to fulfill that obligation," Fowler said.

Both are optimistic about the bill's chances in the Senate, but Noelle isn't so sure the Governor will sign it.

"We're not going to stop fighting until everybody's paid in full," Noelle said.

And if it does pass, Comptroller Susana Mendoza said she'll process the backpay as soon as possible.

Rachel Bold, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rauner, emphasized his predecessor, former Gov. Pat Quinn, promised the raises in the first place but never gave them.

She said Gov. Rauner will keep an eye on the bill's progress in the Senate and see how it fits into the larger budget conversation.

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