"School buses" by Flickr User JohnPickenPhoto / (CC BY 2.0)

Around 100 Rockford Public Schools bus drivers picketed in front of the district’s bus terminal at 2000 Christina Street.

They chanted: “No Green, No Yellow,” warning of a possible strike if contract negotiations continue to drag on between the district and AFSCME.  The main sticking points include requests for higher wages and concern over employee contributions to health insurance.   

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

State workers suing to put an end to mandatory union dues will appeal a judge's order dismissing their case.

That's according to their attorney, Jacob Huebert, who is with the conservative-supported Liberty Justice Center.

At issue are fees Illinois government employees pay to cover unions' collective bargaining costs.

Huebert says they shouldn’t be required; he alleges the so-called "fair share" fees also support politics.

AFSCME members spoke out at a Rockford school board meeting Tuesday and held a march  in favor of higher wages for bus drivers, paraprofessionals, and food service workers.  

Current wages for bus drivers are $16,181, $14,280 for paraprofessionals and $11,373 for nutrition services workers. Advocates  say current these levels aren't enough to adequately support  families, and believe Rockford Public Schools can afford higher raises.  

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

A judge is encouraging Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration to keep bargaining its contract with the state’s largest government union.

Attorneys for Governor Rauner have argued the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which represents thousands of state government employees, is making unrealistic demands in contract negotiations. They're asking the state’s labor board to declare negotiations at an impasse, which could potentially lead to a strike of state workers. 

AFSCME members don't want to strike, says spokesman Anders Lindall. But the union is laying the groundwork, just in case.

"We've got nearly 80 local unions of state employees and so they are having their conversations with their members, on the ground, where they live and work, to give them all the information and answer all their questions,” Lindall said.

Lindall says Governor Bruce Rauner is trying to unilaterally impose demands -- like pay cuts, and higher health insurance premiums -- on the thousands of state employees who are members of AFSCME.