Days into job, Pritzker signals union-relations about-face

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ One thing is clear from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first week in office: Life will be easier for organized labor.

The Democrat took several pro-labor actions and signaled an end to a four-year battle between the governor’s office and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ state council.

That was waged by former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and about 38,000 AFSCME employees. It has meant no contract since the last one expired 3 { years ago. Rauner stopped negotiating in January 2017 and canceled longevity-based contractual salary “step” increases.

Pritzker ordered step increases to resume and promised to continue negotiations.

He also ordered state law be followed on Project Labor Agreements _ union-friendly pre-construction deals on quality, conditions and wages _ and directed that outstanding wage and day-labor complaints be settled quickly.

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