A Cook County Circuit Court judge has decided to send a dispute between Governor Pat Quinn and major union back to arbitration.
Judge Richard Billik, Jr. was to decide Monday whether Quinn had the right to cancel pay raises promised to members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees for fiscal year 2012. Instead, he decided to send the case back to an arbitrator: Billik says the administration must prove it didn’t have the funds to cover the pay hikes.
Governor Quinn says state lawmakers didn’t appropriate enough money for the 2% raises: AFSCME contends sufficient funding was available. Judge Billik agreed with many of the administration’s arguments, including the governor’s stance that the state can’t spend money that hasn’t been appropriated, even if it is bound by a contract.
The original contract called for a 4% increase, but union members agreed to postpone half of the pay hike because of the state’s fiscal crisis.