If Illinois Republicans and conservatives knew how to fight the information war more Illinoisans would know these disturbing facts outlined by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner:
Illinois’ biggest government-worker union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is engaged in contract negotiations with the state in an attempt to boost its salaries and benefits. As part of its negotiation tactics, AFSCME claims its “middle class” benefits are under attack. That’s why union officials are demanding up to $3 billion in salary and benefits for union members.
AFSCME’s demands ignore four significant facts about Illinois state-worker compensation:
- Illinois state workers are the highest-paid state workers in the country
- AFSCME workers receive Cadillac health care benefits
- Most state workers receive free retiree health insurance
- Career state retirees on average receive $1.6 million in pension benefits
It’s not fair that Illinois residents, struggling with stagnant incomes in one of the nation’s weakest economies, continue to subsidize AFSCME benefits to such an extent.
Many other unions that contract with the state have recognized that taxpayers can’t withstand higher taxes to fund workers’ pay and benefits. Officials from more than 17 unions, including the Teamsters, understand the depth of Illinois’ fiscal crisis and have been willing to compromise and come to affordable contract agreements with the state.
AFSCME, which represents a mere 0.5 percent of Illinois’ total labor force (35,000 state workers out of a total 6.5 million workers), is putting undue pressure on the state and its finances.
AFSCME’s demands include new state-worker salary, health care and pension benefits. Specifically, AFSCME leaders are seeking four-year raises ranging from 11.5 to 29 percent, a 37.5-hour workweek, five weeks of vacation and enhanced health care coverage.
Read more: Illinois Policy Institute
Image credit: Illinois Policy Institute.