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AFSCME says it’ll accept a wage freeze to resume talks

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Illinois AFSCME

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois’ largest state employee union says it’s made significant concessions in hopes of resuming contract negotiations, including a wage freeze.

The state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees issued a Monday letter saying they’d also pay higher health care premiums. The union had previously called for an 8.5 percent increase over four years.

The union wants to resume negotiating after talks with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration broke down a year ago.

A state labor board ruled negotiations were officially at “impasse,” meaning Rauner can impose whatever contract conditions he chooses. The union can accept or strike. Then the union filed a lawsuit to keep Rauner from imposing terms.

Rauner’s spokeswoman called the letter “superficial,” saying the terms don’t address the major gap between both sides.

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