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No state worker layoffs in latest Illinois budget cuts

By Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – State employees' jobs appear to be safe under Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's plan to reduce the budget by $1.4 billion.

In detailing his budget cuts last week, Quinn bragged about ways he has saved the state money.

"We've reduced the headcount of state employees by 1,102 employees since I became governor," Quinn said. "We have the lowest state employee headcount per capita in the nation."

Quinn restricted his ability to bring that headcount down further.

When he threatened layoffs last year the state's largest public employees union, AFSCME, sued.

As part of the settlement, Quinn agreed he wouldn't touch AFCME members' jobs through next June.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says it's nothing to brag about. He says not only should there be no layoffs, Illinois needs to resume hiring because there's a shortage of workers.

"And as a result of that staff shortage has been a tremendous amount of forced overtime in the prisons, in the veterans' homes," Lindall said. "And that's a triple loser of a proposition."

Lindall said overtime wastes money, burns out staff, and reduces the quality of service.

The Quinn administration says it will pursue talks with unions in an attempt to secure contract savings. The governor also suggests increasing employee and retiree health insurance costs.

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