Rauner, AFSCME appear gridlocked on contract talks

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Labor talks between Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state’s largest public employee union ended this week without progress toward an agreement and both sides evaluating whether negotiations will continue.

Each side blamed the other for the standstill Friday.

The Rauner administration says the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 36,000 state workers, rejected additional meetings next week. But AFSCME says it’s Rauner who’s refusing to participate in more bargaining sessions while they’re willing to continue talks.

The two sides have been in contract talks for more than a year and met three times this week. The previous contract expired June 30, but both sides agreed last year to keep negotiating without the possibility of a strike.