ASFCME 31 pickets IDES, state cutbacks in the cold

By Anna Yee

November 14, 2012 Updated Nov 14, 2012 at 8:58 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Wednesday, area AFSCME 31 union members braved the cold to fight for fair treatment and a fair contract, as well as protesting local cutbacks.

ASFCME members at Peoria's Illinois Department of Employment Security say they're unhappy with the Governor's cutbacks across state workplaces,10 months into negotiating a new contract.

However, the local IDES is dealing with more cutbacks of its own.

Over the summer, Pekin's office consolidated with Peoria's.

During that process, some part-time workers were asked to take an indefinite amount of "non-scheduled days off."

Mark Weidemier, a union representative, says these cuts have caused long lines and delays for clients.

"The union would certainly like to see those people who have been laid off put back to work," said Weidemier. "We think that this is a problem where management simply laid off more than they could afford to lay off, and that's causing stress on the entire system."

An IDES spokesman says there is actually less of a demand for workers since the Illinois unemployment rate is down.

He says because of that and an expected drop in federal funding, the department cut more than 200 part-time positions statewide.

No full-time employees have been laid off.

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