Voters Nov. 8 will decide a constitutional amendment that could give unions powers they don’t have in any other state, including the ability to bargain or strike over endless topics.
Union contracts already punish taxpayers enough. The state’s largest public employee union is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. The AFSCME contract with the state includes a platinum health insurance subsidy allowing state employees to pay half of what private sector workers pay for health insurance.
A taxpayer-friendly contract developed by Illinois Policy Institute experts sought to bring government worker compensation in line with what private sector taxpayers can afford, and would have saved $3.6 billion over four years.
Instead, taxpayers are on the hook for 78% of the AFSCME health care plan.
State workers paid for 22% of their health insurance between premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Families usually pay almost twice as much, 40% for individual coverage and 43% for family coverage, based on the 2020 Milliman Medical Index.
A bill that failed in the 100th General Assembly, Senate Bill 2680, called for removing health care coverage from collective bargaining topics if average employee annual costs remained below 40%. It’d be wise for lawmakers to pursue similar reforms that even out the costs among public and private sector employees.
Amendment 1 would make such a reform impossible because union contracts would trump state law. Voters have the power to approve it, but nobody can change or repeal it if it passes.
Illinois taxpayers and state lawmakers will be powerless to curb labor costs if Amendment 1 passes Nov. 8.
Rightsizing the state employee health insurance is only one component of Illinois Forward 2023, a plan developed by Illinois Policy Institute experts to balance state debt at no additional cost to taxpayers. Read the full plan here.
This content was originally published here.