Judge issues mixed ruling on state worker contract talks

An administrative law judge has issued a mixed decision over whether negotiations have stalled between Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration and the state’s largest public employees union.
    
Judge Sarah Kerley issued a 400-page ruling saying Rauner’s administration should be able to implement some contract provisions but the two sides should return to the bargaining table on others.
    
Both sides have 30 days to respond to the judge’s Friday recommendation.
    
However, the Illinois Labor Relations Board has the final word.
    
Negotiations for a new contract with about 38,000 members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees have gone on for more than a year and a half.
    
The issue is whether talks have reached "impasse," which could force the union to either accept the governor’s terms or strike.

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