Illinois public workers file lawsuit to stop salary freeze

Vittorio Hernandez – AHN News

Springfield, IL, United States (AHN) – The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed a lawsuit on Friday against Illinois Governor Pat Quinn over salary freeze of 30,000 public employees.

The pay freeze are supposed to begin July 1. The AFSCME said the wage freeze is in violation of the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the state. The union insisted on receiving a 2 percent salary hike and longevity-based increases, which would cost the state government $75 million.

The union said the freeze is not fair because the employees in 14 department and agencies perform the same tasks as workers in other departments, whose salaries are not frozen.

Quinn defended the salary freeze as necessary because if Illinois would increase the workers’ wages now, the 14 agencies would not be able to pay their salaries for the 2012 fiscal year.

Besides the pay freeze, Illinois proposes to change the state’s pension plan to address the budget deficit and underfunded pension plans. The union are also opposed to the higher pension contributions because of its impact on workers’ take-home pay.

Last year, 12 states including Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia mandated higher employee contributions for their pensions.

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