Lawmakers ask Illinois governor to resume contract talks

Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Nearly three dozen Illinois legislators of both political stripes are asking Gov. Bruce Rauner to resume contract negotiations with the state’s largest public-employee union.

The lawmakers said Wednesday that the “nonpartisan” issue is crucial to the struggling state.

Decatur Democratic Rep. Sue Scherer (SHEER’) says “nothing happens if you’re not at the table.”

Republican Rauner broke off negotiations last winter with 30,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees state council. A state labor board sided with Rauner this month that talks had reached “impasse.” That means the governor can impose his own contract terms.

He did that a second time Wednesday in announcing an employee drug and alcohol testing plan.

AFSCME released a statement it’s ready to talk. Rauner’s office did not immediately respond.