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New Data Shows Illinois Voters Favor State Workers in Contract Talks

A new poll suggests most Illinois voters want Gov. Bruce Rauner to head back to the bargaining table with the state's largest employee union. (AFSCME)
A new poll suggests most Illinois voters want Gov. Bruce Rauner to head back to the bargaining table with the state's largest employee union. (AFSCME)
July 22, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois voters like labor unions, but generally find Governor Bruce Rauner's approach to labor negotiations to be unfavorable, according to a new poll. This month the progressive political research group ALG took a survey of about 600 likely Illinois voters. The findings show that more than half trust the state's public employee unions more than the governor when it comes to labor disputes.

Anders Lindall public affairs director with AFSCME Council 31, part of the state's largest employee union, said the poll comes as the union has been urging Rauner to return to bargaining a new contract.

"The poll shows that voters reject Rauner's approach to try impose his unfair terms on workers, potentially forcing a strike," he said. "On the contrary, voters strongly support public service workers."

According to the poll, 54 percent of Illinois voters favor the unions in the negotiations, while only 30 percent support Rauner. However, in a statement to Capitol Fax, Rauner's office called the research a "fabricated poll."

Earlier this year, Rauner's administration asked the state labor board to allow him to impose new terms in the state worker contract. The board denied that request two weeks ago. Lindall argues the poll suggests that Illinois voters want to see the governor and state employees come to an agreement. The talks between AFSCME and the governor have been stalled since January.

"Not confrontation, but compromise," he added. "That's what AFSCME wants, clearly that's what the people of Illinois want. Bruce Rauner trying to force confrontation is out on an island with the support of a small minority of Illinoisans."

According to the union, Rauner's demands include a four-year wage freeze and doubling workers' costs for health care.

The full report can be read online here.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL