An arbitrator ruled Monday that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D)'s call for seven state facility closures and 1,900 worker layoffs violates the state's agreement with the employees' union.
In his ruling, arbitrator Edwin Benn sided with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, who had contended that Quinn's planned cuts did not mesh with an agreement forged between the union and the state that no additional unionized state employees would be laid off until July 1, 2012, per a Reuters report.
The decision is a victory for the union, though Quinn's office will likely file an appeal, according to the Chicago Tribune. The governor has argued that the state's General Assembly did not appropriate enough funding in the budget they approved -- which was $2.2 billion less than he proposed. This, he said, left him few options besides measures like layoffs or closures to remedy the state's budgetary quandaries. The cuts, in all, were expected to save the state $313 million.
(Scroll down to watch Quinn explaining the cuts at a September event.)
Regardless, Benn argued that the state had made an agreement that they need to uphold.
"The state did not keep its promises. It must now do so," Benn said, as reported by the Tribune.
AFSCME previously described the proposed cuts as, beyond violating their agreement, having "a dire impact on the maintenance of public safety and the delivery of services of vital importance to the people of Illinois."
State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) earlier Monday told WJBC that he doubted the sincerity of the cuts Quinn proposed.
“In the economic hardship and strain he’s placed on the communities that he’s threatened, even further erodes the difficult economic challenges all communities are facing,” Brady said. "He does that, he takes off for China and we haven’t heard from him since."
Benn also ruled against Quinn's blocking of scheduled pay raises for some 30,000 state employees this summer. A federal judge later shot down that ruling, though a final decision on that matter remains pending.
WATCH: Quinn explains his call for layoffs and closures.
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