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Wed September 5, 2012
Judge Sides With AFSCME And Arbitrator To Halt Prison Transfers
A southern Illinois judge upheld an arbitrator’s decision on Tuesday to continue a freeze on inmate transfers out of the Tamms Supermax prison and other facilities slated for closure. Judge Charles Cavaness ruled in Alexander County Court that the temporary restraining order can stay in place for 30 days while the state and the workers’ union return to impact bargaining. Last week, arbitrator Steven Bierig ruled the state violated the collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, did not rule on the union’s grievance that facility closures would negatively affect the health and safety of prison workers. But on Tuesday, Judge Cavaness ruled the closures would present what he called a legitimate health and safety issue. AFSCME program director Eddie Caumiant says it’s a step in the right direction. In a written statement, a spokesperson from Governor Pat Quinn’s office said, quote, “it is disappointing that progress to make Illinois a better place and to put its financial house in order continues to be halted.”