By Todd Wineburner
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 has the backing of a Chicago Circuit Court on the question of salary increases withheld by the governor. In 2011, Governor Pat Quinn refused to grant negotiated salary increases to about 30,000 union employees of the state, saying that the General Assembly hadn't appropriated the money.
Yesterday (12/7/12) Chicago Circuit Judge Richard Billick ordered the state to pay the full amount owed. The court agreed that the general assembly's appropriation had to be honored, but he specified that the state's obligation didn't change. The state is ordered to pay what it can now, and to make good on the negotiated amount when possible.
An arbitrator had earlier made a similar decision, but the state appealed. The judge earlier ordered the state to preserve and sequester disputed amounts at the end of fiscal 2012. Now the Quinn administration is ordered to cooperate with the comptroller's office to place the funds in a trust that can only be used to pay the negotiated amounts.