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Rauner, state workers union face decision day on contract talks

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A nearly two-years-in-the-making labor dispute between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration and the largest state worker union is set to come to a head Tuesday when the Illinois Labor Relations Board meets to weigh in on the issue.

All year, the prospect of a possible state worker strike has loomed over Illinois government, and Tuesday’s hearing could clear the way for that to happen.

After months of fighting over a new contract to replace the one that expired in the summer of 2015, Rauner’s administration in January asked the State Labor Relations Board to determine whether the two sides had reached what’s known as impasse, a technical stage in negotiations that allows the governor to try to impose the terms of his contract offer, leaving the union to decide whether to accept the terms or go on strike.

The union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, countered that impasse had not been reached and filed its own complaint alleging that the Rauner administration was not bargaining in good faith.

The two appeals to the board were lumped into what’s now referred to as the “impasse case.” The situation is unprecedented — governors have had contentious contract negotiations with AFSCME in the past, but never to the point of asking the labor board whether or not impasse had been reached.

For months, an administrative law judge at the labor board took testimony and collected paperwork on the case, ultimately producing a 400-page decision that left the situation even murkier. The judge found that the parties were at impasse on some issues, but not on others. She recommended that the administration be allowed to impose its final offer on the impasse issues and return to the negotiating table on the others.

Both sides objected to the decision.

Now it’s up to the labor board, whose members are appointed by the governor, to deliver the final word. Tuesday’s hearing in Chicago will feature a presentation from the labor board’s executive director followed by an expected oral ruling from the panel of appointees. The board can decide to uphold the administrative law judge’s recommendations, or it can issue a different decision. (Kim Geiger)

What’s on tap

*Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s schedule was not available.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner will meet with the legislative leaders at the Capitol.

*The General Assembly meets for the first day of fall session. The Senate could take up a Rauner veto on Tuesday of a measure aimed at making voter registration automatic in Illinois. The legislation received strong bipartisan support, and Democrats view Tuesday’s planned override as a test of Rauner’s strength and whether he will be able to make the veto stick despite previous support from Republicans.

*The Cook County Board meets to vote on Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s 2017 budget. The heavy lifting was done last week with Preckwinkle breaking the tie to approve her penny-an-ounce soda pop tax.

What we’re writing

*Immigration issue provides Emanuel with chance to stand up to Donald Trump.

*Rauner, Speaker Michael Madigan to meet postelection after days of posturing.

*CPS delays bond sale after credit rating dinged.

*Two with links to CPS principal training bribery scandal give speech to City Club on importance of principal training.

From the notebook

*Steve Bannon pick draws fire from Chicago-area Democrats: Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley, of Chicago, and Rep.-elect Brad Schneider, of Deerfield, on Monday ripped President-elect Donald Trump for giving a top White House job to Steve Bannon, the onetime head of Breitbart News, a hard-right news and opinion website.

“In the aftermath of such a long, tumultuous campaign, it is the responsibility of President-elect Trump to foster a sense of unity that brings Americans together instead of pulling us further apart. However, Trump’s decision to name Steve Bannon his chief strategist sends a very different message to the American people. This disturbing choice demonstrates that the next commander in chief remains unwilling to abandon the hateful and divisive vision that he laid out during his campaign,” Quigley said.

“I strongly condemn the appointment of a white nationalist to the position of chief strategist in the next White House administration, and I will continue my efforts in Congress to defend equality and opportunity for all — regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation."

Schneider, who soon once again will represent the North Shore’s 10th Congressional District, which has a large Jewish population, said in a statement that Bannon was a leader of the ‘alt-right’ movement with "a history of promoting racism and anti-Semitism."

Schneider, who served one term in Congress from 2013-15 and returned to Capitol Hill on Sunday for orientation before his January swearing in, added: "Bannon’s views have no place in our government, much less feet from the Oval Office." (Katherine Skiba)

*Elected school board bill approval remains unlikely: Community groups, many aligned with the Chicago Teachers Union, are reviving demands to toss out Mayor Emanuel’s appointed school board and replace it with a body selected by voters.

Supporters of an elected school board want state senators to take up a House bill that would do just that. In its current form, the measure would provide for an election for the Chicago Board of Education on a separate ballot in 2018 and divide the city into 20 electoral districts for each seat. Candidates would have to be registered voters and residents of the city for at least one year preceding their election.

The House legislation passed by a 110-4 margin in March, as Speaker Michael Madigan tweaked Emanuel, who opposes an elected school board. Now, a coalition of groups that operate under the umbrella of the Grassroots Education Movement say they want the Senate to have the bill on Gov. Rauner’s desk by the end of the fall session that starts Tuesday.

The bill’s Senate co-sponsors include Sens. Kwame Raoul, Mattie Hunter, William Delgado and Heather Steans. But there’s no indication the bill is going anywhere anytime soon — the chamber is run by Senate President John Cullerton, a top Emanuel ally. (Juan Perez Jr.)

*How Illinois voters sharply differed from rest of nation: Illinois maintained its solidly Democratic status in last week’s historic presidential election, contrasting sharply with the views of voters nationally that ultimately sent Republican Donald Trump to the White House.

Exit polling, conducted for the major TV networks and news media outlets, showed that across several demographic categories and favorability ratings, this blue state diverged with the red states.

Hillary Clinton downed Trump here by 16 percentage points, collecting 55.4 percent of the vote. She easily captured support from white voters in Illinois, an advantage she lacked in much of the rest of the country.

Nationally, white voters made up 70 percent of the electorate and they went strongly for Trump — 58 percent, to 37 percent for Clinton. In Illinois, whites represented 65 percent of the vote and they split equally between the two contenders at 47 percent.

(Nonwhite voters in Illinois echoed those nationally, with more than 70 percent backing Clinton and less than a quarter supporting Trump.)

Look deeper at the gender of white voters, and Illinois’ outlier status becomes even more clear.

Nationally, white men made up 34 percent of the vote and sided with Trump at a 2-to-1 rate: 63 percent to 31 percent for Clinton. In Illinois, white males represented 32 percent of the vote, but the split was much closer: 49 percent for Trump to 41 percent for Clinton.

But the difference was even more stark among white women voters.
National exit poll results showed white females making up 37 percent of the vote and favoring Trump 53 percent to 43 percent, despite Clinton’s theme of seeking to become the first woman president. In Illinois, Clinton won the white female vote. That group made up 33 percent of the electorate, but 52 percent sided with Clinton to 45 percent for Trump.

Delving into the level of education among this demographic reveals a similar dissonance here.

White women with a college degree, thought to be Clinton’s base, represented about one-fifth of voters nationally. But Clinton failed to run up the score, taking 51 percent of these voters to 45 percent for Trump.

However, in Illinois, where white college graduate women represented 18 percent of the vote, Clinton nearly doubled up Trump at 64 percent to 33 percent.

Trump did better than Clinton nationally among white women without a college degree. They make up 17 percent of the electorate, and Trump collected 62 percent support to 34 percent for Clinton. In Illinois, where white females without a college degree made up 16 percent of the state’s voters, Trump still held the edge, but the advantage was narrower, 55 percent to 41 percent.

The votes of women in Illinois may be a significant factor behind Clinton defeating Trump in the traditionally Republican-leaning collar counties of DuPage, Kane, Will and Lake. (Clinton did lose McHenry County.)
GOP officials had been concerned that controversies involving Trump and his treatment of women, in addition to other positions he had taken, would send socially moderate suburban females, an influential and sometimes decisive voting bloc, to Clinton’s side.

During his initial White House run in 2008, and then again in his re-election bid four years later, home-state President Barack Obama carried the same collar counties. Those counties went solidly for President George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election.

The state’s voters also viewed Clinton, who was born in Chicago and raised in suburban Park Ridge, in a more favorable light and Trump in a more negative vein than voters nationally.

In Illinois, 51 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of Clinton while 48 percent viewed her unfavorably. Nationally, the results were reversed — 54 percent viewed her unfavorably while only 44 percent had a favorable opinion.

As for Trump, 60 percent of voters nationally had an unfavorable attitude toward him while 38 percent viewed him favorably. In contrast, about three-quarters of Illinois voters considered Trump unfavorably and only 24 percent had a favorable view. (Rick Pearson)

*Radio softballs: Mayor Emanuel had what amounted to 30 minutes of free airtime on a whole bunch of radio stations on Tuesday night as he spoke with velvet-voice former anchorman Bill Kurtis. A quick summary of what you missed can be found here.

Follow the money 

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.

Beyond Chicago

*Trump, Vladimir Putin chat on the phone, agree to improve ties.

*Critics see Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist pick, as voice of racism.

*Sen. Jeff Sessions may be leading choice for defense secretary.

*Right-wing Israeli leaders seize on Trump’s win, WaPo reports.

 
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