Illinois Public Employees Union Sues Governor to Stop Freeze

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was sued by a public employees union seeking to reverse an order freezing the pay of 30,000 government workers.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Springfield, Illinois, asked for a court finding that the state’s pay freeze, imposed July 1, violates the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

The union said in its complaint that the employees have a contractual right to receive a 2 percent pay raise, which along with longevity-based increases, would cost about $75 million, according to state estimates. The union also said the freeze is unfair because some workers in the 14 departments and agencies subject to it do the same kind of jobs as employees in other departments that aren’t affected.

“Paying employees different wages when they have the same classification” and duties “is unreasonable and arbitrary,” according to the complaint.

Grant Klinzman, a spokesman for the governor, said in an e-mail that increasing salaries now would mean that the 14 agencies wouldn’t be able to meet payroll through the entire 2012 fiscal year

“The administration will take the necessary steps to manage the fiscal year 2012 budget,” Klinzman said.

The case is Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO v. Quinn, 11-03203, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois (Springfield).

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