Friday, September 4, 2015

Veto of Amendment to IPLRA Withstands Override Attempt

On July 31, Governor Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 1229, which would have enabled unions in collective bargaining negotiations with the State of Illinois to take to interest arbitration disputes regarding collective bargaining agreements expiring between June 30, 2015 and  June 30, 2019.  The Illinois Senate voted to override the veto but, on September 2, the override vote in the House of Representatives failed, thus allowing the Governor’s veto to stand.

In his veto message, Governor Rauner asserted that the bill “removes every subject of labor negotiations from the bargaining process and allows unelected arbitrators to impose billions of dollars of new costs on our taxpayers without any involvement of the Executive Branch, the General Assembly, or those taxpayers.  This legislation is undemocratic, it is bad for our budget, and it is unconstitutional.”

Interest arbitration has been available at the local level in Illinois since 1986 to units of public safety employees (police and firefighters) and, since 2010, to newly-certified units of less than 35 non-public safety employees.  While the veto of Senate Bill 1229 leaves those statutory provisions intact, there is room for speculation that the Governor’s veto may signal future changes in the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act as it applies to local units of government as well as to units of State employees.