A second attempt pushed by Illinois Democrats to change the process of negotiating labor agreements, was once again vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner on May 16.
Known as a controversial “binding arbitration” measure, this spring Democrats revived previous efforts to place the process of determining the outcome of taxpayer-paid, multi-billion-dollar labor agreements between the Governor and state employee unions in the hands of an unelected arbitrator.
Republican lawmakers largely voted against House Bill 580, which removes a duly-elected governor from union negotiations in the event of a contract dispute. Critics of the proposal noted it is the job of the Governor, elected by the people of Illinois, to negotiate in good faith as a representative of the taxpayers.
Additionally, locally-elected union representatives would also be removed from the process, and critics questioned a provision in the legislation that would have removed the union’s ability to strike.
Not only was the proposal estimated to cost taxpayers up to $3 billion over the next four years, the motives behind the legislation were questionable—it would only apply to Governor Rauner’s first term in office.
An identical measure (SB 1229) was advanced by legislative Democrats in late 2015, but it failed to become law after Democrats couldn’t muster enough support to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of the legislation.