Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a controversial “binding arbitration” bill was upheld as House Speaker Michael Madigan failed to muster the necessary 71 votes to override. By some estimates, if Senate Bill 1229 was upheld and eventually enacted, it could have cost the state an estimated $2 billion in the next four years for labor costs.
The legislation was largely panned because it would have removed a duly-elected governor from union negotiations in the event of a contract dispute. Instead, Senate Bill 1229 would have placed the process of determining the outcome of taxpayer-paid, multi-billion–dollar labor agreements between the Governor and state employee unions in the hands of an unelected arbitrator.
Additionally, locally-elected union representatives would have been removed from the equation, and critics questioned a provision in the legislation that would have removed the union’s ability to strike.
Southern Illinois Senator Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville), who has often sided with government labor organizations on their goals, called Senate Bill 1229 an “absolutely bad bill and it was a bad precedent to set.” He also questioned the bill’s sunset provision for the time of Rauner’s term in office.
Lawmakers are hopeful that having put this issue to rest, the Governor can move forward productively with the ongoing negotiations with the state’s largest public sector union, AFSCME.