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Illinois workers protest Rauner's planned labor deal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – State workers across Illinois put pressure on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to negotiate in demonstrations at 120 worksites.

The demonstrations Thursday were organized by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 38,000 state employees.

In Springfield, workers chanted “2-4-6-8, Rauner should negotiate.” In downtown Rockford, about 75 workers picketed.

A state labor board ruled Tuesday that contract negotiations are stalled. On Wednesday Rauner’s administration said it intends to implement a 40-hour workweek, instead of 37.5 hours, and a merit-pay system as soon as possible.

Rauner estimates his plan will save Illinois $3 billion over four years.

AFSCME says health insurance premiums will double and workers’ wages will be frozen for four years.

AFSCME plans to appeal the labor board ruling. If they lose, workers can vote on whether to strike.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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