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Ill. Gov. Quinn ordered to start paying raises to state workers

(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)
An arbitrator has ruled that Gov. Pat Quinn must give union employees the 2 percent raise included in their contract.

Updated 1:21 with story from WBEZ.

Reporting from WBEZ's Sam Hudzik used in this report.

A victory today for a public employee union in Illinois.

An arbitrator says Governor Pat Quinn cannot cancel pay raises promised to state workers, but the issue is far from settled.

(Here's a link to the full text of the decision from the arbitrator)

Roughly 30,000 state employees were affected by the administration's decision to cancel the raises.

Governor Quinn has said he had no choice: the legislature just did not appropriate enough money to pay for them.

The union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, appealed that decision to the arbitrator who last year worked out a labor deal with the governor.

That deal said pay rates "shall be increased by 2.00%" on July first of this year.

The arbitrator wrote today, "These are hard fiscal times for the State - no doubt. However, when the State did not pay the increase...the State did not keep its promise."

He noted he has power to interpret only the labor deal, and it's up to the courts to decide if the state has the authority under the law and constitution to cancel the raises because the legislature did not to fund them.

And to the courts this case will go.

A spokesman for the Governor Quinn says the administration will appeal the arbitrator's ruling.

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