Illinois Arbitrator says governor's proposal is a contract viola - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois Arbitrator says governor's proposal is a contract violation

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - The arbitrator has ordered Governor Pat Quinn to back off of his proposal to layoff thousands of state employees and shutter seven state facilities.

This past year Governor Quinn signed a deal with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. And Arbitrator Edwin Benn ruled on Monday that if the governor followed through with his plan that he would be violating his contract with the union.

"We in exchange received assurances that we would not be laid off or have facilities close through the 2012 Fiscal Year," said AFSCME Council #31 Regional Director Eddie Caumiant.

"We deferred eighteen months worth of raises as part of the deal to try to help the state. We've demonstrated there are ways to address these issues, violating our contract is not one of them."

Caumiant isn't the only one who is upset by the governor's actions, so is State Representative Mike Bost, Republican for the 115th District.

"It doesn't make sense to close down your newest facility. It was built 18 years ago," said Representative Bost.

"You have a hundred plus employees. And you have when the Murphysboro Youth Camp, is full to capacity you have about 160-residents."

It's estimated the facility also injects more than $25-million annually into the local economy.

But, the governor doesn't see the facility, along with Chester Mental Health and five other facilities as a vital part of the state's budget or its needs. And that the legislators didn't give him enough money to keep them open and run the state's business.

"But to do the things he's talking about and just to scare the people, so that they will pressure their legislators to do something that can't be done because we don't have more money. We put the money into the budget to operate these facilities. And this is nothing but a political game."

And the AFSCME Regional Director says they're done fighting for their rights and jobs.

"We will strenuously defend our contract," said Caumiant.

"These proposed closures and layoffs will affect more than two thousand people."

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