The rift between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state's public employee union has escalated.

Rauner announced Friday he's asking the state labor board to decide if negotiations with AFSCME have reached an impasse. A few days ago in an interview with Illinois Public Radio, Rauner -- a Republican -- said his bargaining team is spinning its wheels.

After roughly one year -- about 67 sessions -- he claimed "AFSCME has refused to compromise off of their starting position, which was status quo with major increases in compensation, and other issues."

Gov. Bruce Rauner says his team is trying to assess its options after an apparent breakdown in talks with AFSCME last week. 

The union is bargaining on behalf of 36,000 state workers for a new contract.

There's an impasse over whether there's an impasse. In this case, that's not just a synonym for "not going well." It's a high-stakes legal term, that basically signals the gulf that divides the two sides is so wide it can't be bridged, so there's no point to negotiating further.

Rauner says after a year and 67 bargaining sessions, he's seen no progress with AFSCME.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is outlining a new compensation system for state workers that includes merit pay and bonuses for employees who save taxpayers money.

General counsel Jason Barclay says the administration is implementing the system for members of 17 labor unions that signed new collective bargaining agreements last year.

In a memo to state agency directors, Barclay says the Republican governor has offered a similar compensation package to Illinois' largest state-employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.


The state's largest public employee union remains at odds with Governor Bruce Rauner's administration on a new contract.  

Negotiators for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees have been meeting with the governor's staff about twice a month since the summer. But AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says there's been little movement toward a deal.  

"It shouldn't take this long. And this cloud of uncertainty shouldn't continue to hang over the heads of the men and women who serve our community every day," Lindall said.


Government labor unions lost a fight with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner yesterday.

AFSCME and other unions say the governor is making unreasonable demands in contract negotiations. But the governor and like-minded Republicans, such as Representative Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, say unions are asking for more than Illinois can afford.

"Some of you are going to be winners, and some of you are going to be losers,” Ives said. “And what you're going to lose is your livelihood, because there's no other way to pay for this."