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AFSCME & state reach tentative deal

<strong style="color: #0000bf; font-size: 15px;"><span style="color: #0000bf; font-size: 15px;">Update: 4:32 pm</span></strong><br><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; SPRINGFIELD -- A bitter battle may be over as state workers now have a tentative contract agreement.
Update: 4:32 pm
SPRINGFIELD -- A bitter battle may be over as state workers now have a tentative contract agreement. AFSCME and the state signed reached the deal early Thursday. No word yet what's in it though.

We do know it's a three year labor contract covering about 38,000 state workers. All of them have been working without a contract for months.

The story has a lot of history, so here's some background. The negotiations started about 18 months ago. The state was supposed to renew the union's contract. But it was calling for changes AFSCME didn't like.

Since then, both sides have been battling over benefits. Now that fight is finally over. Members say it's a huge relief.

Some of the bigger issues they couldn't agree on previously were what to do about pay raises and freezes, plus how much retirees would have to cover for health insurance premiums.

It isn't a done deal yet. All those union members have to vote on the contract. That process starts next week and will probably finish up by the end of the month.

It couldn't have come at a better time. The union was threatening to strike. Apparently, they thought that was enough and hoped it would get the state's attention. Looks like it did.

Original: 10:02 am
SPRINGFIELD -- AFSCME and the State of Illinois have reached a tentative contract agreement. A deal reached about 12:30 am Thursday should keep nearly 40,000 state employees from striking.

The state and the union have been trying to reach a new deal for two years. AFSCME members must ratify any contract negotiated by it elected bargaining representatives.

The ratification process will get underway at work sites around the state starting Monday. Details of the tentative agreement will be released after the union's membership has had the opportunity to review it.
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