Reporting by Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.
It looks like an impending strike of workers in Illinois' largest government-employee union has been avoided - tentatively.
Governor Pat Quinn reached a tentative contract deal with The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) early this morning.
Officially, the union is keeping mum about what's in the contract.
AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says it's a three-year agreement, but wouldn't divulge other details until union members have a chance to ratify it. He says that process will begin Monday. The union has approximately 35,000 members.
"We are very pleased that even in these challenging economic times, and after more than 15 months at the bargaining table, we were able to achieve an agreement that is fair to state employees, and one that is fair to all the people of Illinois," Lindall says.
Quinn echoed those comments in a statement.
The administration had been demanding no pay raises and increases in health care costs, and at one point even wanted to eliminate the Columbus Day holiday.
The union has been battling with Quinn on multiple fronts: fighting the closure of prisons, suing to get unfulfilled pay raises from the last contract, and trying to block a reduction in pension benefits.
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