CANCELLED RAISES: Illinois
state workers expecting to see a promised 2 percent raise in their next paycheck were outraged when Governor Pat Quinn blocked the raise on July 1 — the day it was to take effect. An additional raise of 1.25 percent is scheduled for January 1 and another 2 percent on February 1. Quinn says he had no choice but to ignore bargained agreements because the legislature didn't fund the salary increases in the state budget. The Associated Press reports
that AFSCME condemned Quinn, a Democrat, for the move "in harshly personal terms, calling him hypocritical and saying he 'has sunk even lower' than some Republican governors because they changed laws on collective bargaining while Quinn is simply ignoring a legal contract." AFSCME plans to pursue all its legal options to force the state to live up to the terms of its current multi-year contract, which was negotiated under the administration of former Governor Rod Blagojevich and renegotiated by Quinn.
PAY CUTS: Many public sector union leaders in Hawaii
expected to have an easier time negotiating with Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie than with his Republican predecessor, Linda Lingle. But so far, contract negations have been far from smooth, reports
the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Abercrombie took the unprecedented step of unilaterally imposing the state's final contract offer on the Hawaii State Teachers Association, which includes a 5 percent pay cut and increased health contributions. Tony Gill, a labor attorney and the chairman of Oahu Democrats, told the Advertiser,
"This is the largest and most important doctrinal innovation in Hawaii labor relations law in a generation. Period."
DUES-PAYING MEMBERS: The Maryland
chapter of AFSCME will begin collecting dues from non-members this month, a move that is expected to double the $4.7 million that the union collects from members, reports
the Baltimore Sun
. Currently, only 8,000 of the 21,000 workers represented by AFSCME in contract negotiations pay dues, but 2009 "Fair Share" legislation passed largely along party lines allows unions to deduct dues from the paychecks of non-members they represent. (The union opted not to implement the fees last year because workers were already being hit by pay freezes and unpaid days off.) State workers represented by AFSCME will see between $10.80 and $14.96 deducted from their biweekly paychecks.
UNUSED MINUTES: A report
's Legislative Auditor found that the state spends almost $591,000 on cell phones and wireless devices that go unused by state employees. A quarter of the $8 million worth of mobile devices issued to state employees weren't used for at least 10 months last year. Some of the unused devices are intended for disaster recovery purposes, while others just weren't monitored, according to the audit. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's office told
that state agencies will develop policies to better monitor use and cancel devices that aren't needed.