Rauner: ‘No lockout’ of state workers, negotiations ‘stuck’

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Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he won’t lockout state workers, but says contract negotiations with the largest public-employee union are “stuck.”

The Republican said Wednesday: “I hope we don’t have to take a strike, but I don’t control that.”

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ contract expired June 30. The union and Rauner have agreed to keep workers on the job through September, though contract negotiations have been contentious.

AFSCME wants lawmakers to override Rauner’s veto of legislation that would block public-employee strikes and management lockouts and send any contract-negotiation impasses to binding arbitration.

Rauner says the bill is “a declaration of war” on taxpayers.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says Rauner’s “actions have not matched his words.” He says Rauner’s “extreme demands” could force a strike.

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