Arbitration bill protecting AFSCME 31 heads to Rauner’s desk

State legislative Democrats have again passed a bill that would send stalled negotiations between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state’s largest public sector union to an unelected arbitrator.

Senate Democrats passed HB 580 Thursday. Republicans says this bill would put Illinoisans on the hook for a $3 billion tax hike.

Supporters of the bill say it would protect the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 from an anti-union governor.

Under current law, failed negotiations can end up in either the union striking or the state locking workers out.

Rauner vetoed the original interest arbitration bill last July. That veto stood after an override effort fell three votes short in the House, but House Democrats revived the legislation under another bill number.

The governor’s office responded to the bill’s passage in a release, saying “Once again the Democrats in the legislature pandered to special interests and prioritized them over taxpayers. The governor thanks those Senate Republicans who took the pro-taxpayer position today.”

AFSCME Council 31 have agreed to negotiate in good faith with Rauner since their contract expired last summer.