Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Governor’s Task Force Recommends Changes With Impact on Public Sector Unions

Early last year, Governor Rauner created a Task Force to consider the consolidation of Illinois’ many units of local government and the impact that unfunded mandates has had on them.  Today, the Task Force issued a report of over 400 pages with its findings and recommendations, some of which may eventually impact collective bargaining and employee issues. 

The recommendations of the task force that may impact your labor force mostly involve limitations on future unfunded mandates.  Briefly summarized, these are as follows: 

  1. Repeal or reform prevailing wage.
  2. Provide third-party contracting mandate relief for school districts.
  3. Make collective bargaining permissive, instead of mandatory. 
  4. Eliminate minimum manning from collective bargaining. 
  5. Use the federal definition for “catastrophic injury” under the Public Employee Safety Benefits Act. 
  6. Allow arbitrators to use existing financial parameters of local government as a primary consideration during interest arbitration. 
  7. Require an annual state review of unfunded mandates on local government. 
  8. Merge downstate and suburban public safety pension funds into a single pension investment authority, as amended. 
  9. Pass a constitutional amendment on unfunded state mandates. 
  10. Request the Governor to use his amendatory veto power to insert “if economically feasible” language into any language authorizing new unfunded mandates on local governments and school districts. 
  11. Create an “economic feasibility exemption” for units of local government, school districts, community colleges and institutions of higher learning. 
  12. Give control of employee retirement benefits packages back to local governments for new employees. 

The next step in this process is that the Task Force will be dissolved pursuant to statute following the issuance of this report.  Task Force members will be invited to sponsor legislation to promote the Task Force’s recommendations.  If you have questions regarding these recommendations, please contact us. 

Written by Keri-Lyn Krafthefer