Illinois workers protest Rauner’s planned labor deal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – State workers across Illinois are protesting Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to enact his own terms for a new labor contract.

The demonstrations at 120 worksites across Illinois Thursday are organized by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 38,000 state employees.

A state labor board ruled Tuesday that contract negotiations between the two sides are stalled. On Wednesday Rauner’s administration said it intends to implement a 40-hour workweek, instead of 37.5 hours, and a merit-pay system as soon as possible.

Rauner estimates his plan will save Illinois $3 billion over four years.

AFSCME says health insurance premiums will also double and workers’ wages will be frozen for four years.

AFSCME plans to appeal the labor board ruling. If they lose, workers can vote on whether to strike.