Illinois Prisons Stay Open For Now
SPRINGFIELD, IL - A spokeswoman says Gov. Pat Quinn's office is disappointed by an arbitrator's ruling that his administration must properly negotiate with state workers over the impact of prison closures.
The arbitrator's decision was released Friday. That means two major Illinois prisons that Quinn wanted closed Friday will stay open at least another month while the two sides negotiate.
Arbitrator Steven Bierig concluded Friday that the state departments of Corrections and Juvenile Justice did not properly negotiate with workers over the impact of closing the supermax Tamms prison, the Dwight women's lockup and several juvenile facilities.
Bierig ordered the government and the workers' union - the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - to continue negotiating and reach an agreement on the closure process and its effects within a month.
Quinn spokeswoman Kelly Kraft says the state has filed an appeal seeking to vacate the ruling. Union officials say they've filed their own lawsuit, asking a judge to declare the arbitrator's decision binding and order the state to comply.
Kraft says state officials are committed to closure plans and want to "resolve this matter as quickly as possible." The governor has said the state can't afford to continue to operate the facilities.