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The Latest: GOP blasts Pritzker on wage increases

January 15, 2019
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker offers a pen to state Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, who with state Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, left, are sponsors of a bill that prohibits employers from asking about salary history in interviews, during a press conference and signing ceremony Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in the governor's office at the Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Former Gov. Bruce Rauner had vetoed the plan twice, but Pritzker signed an executive order on his first full day in office making the measure applicable to state government hiring. (Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register via AP)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s wage action (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

The Illinois Republican Party chairman is criticizing Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s action to restore frozen wage increases to state workers.

Tim Schneider says the Democrat’s action Tuesday constitutes “reckless spending ... without specifying the costs.”

Pritzker ordered more than 20,000 unionized state workers to begin receiving seniority-based “step” salary increases required by contract.

Former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner stopped paying them in July 2015 because there was no contract with the state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. But a state appellate court ruled in 2017 they must be paid.

Pritzker’s order requires only that they be paid going forward.

Schneider says in a statement that the Pritzker agenda will be one of “borrow, tax, spend, repeat.”

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3 p.m.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker used his first full day in office to restore frozen wage increases for unionized state employees.

The Democrat also took other pro-worker action Tuesday at the state Capitol.

Pritzker announced that union employees would begin getting seniority-based “step” increases in pay. Those contractually required increases were frozen by former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner four years ago during still-unresolved contract negotiations.

Pritzker did not say how much the extra pay would cost. It is not retroactive.

The governor also signed executive orders to prohibit state agencies from asking prospective employees their salary histories. Advocates believe it’s discriminatory toward women who enter and leave the workforce more often. Pritzker likely will sign a law on the issue this spring. Rauner vetoed it twice.

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