SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Thousands of state workers remain on the job during the Coronavirus outbreak, although many of them are adapting to a new reality of working remotely.
State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield), whose district is home to more state workers than any other member of the Illinois House of Representatives, said, “This is a really unique situation for our state employees.”
Butler said each state agency is making decisions about which employees are deemed essential and non-essential, terms he says he hates, but, “you have to make those decisions.”
“I worry about a couple aspects,” Butler said. “Rural areas that don’t have as great of access to technology through broadband and things like that that they should have, and secondly, very honestly, the Governor has broad powers to waive things, but he still has to abide by union contracts.”
“I’m not saying unions are standing in the way,” Butler said, “but navigating those situations makes it more difficult when it comes to state employees as opposed to a private entity.”
“At the end of the day, state employees want to do their job, and they want to do it well,” he said.
“I give the Governor’s office credit,” Butler said, praising Governor Pritzker’s office for effectively communicating with the public during “unprecedented territory during our state and our nation.”
Butler said he has been in touch with several small business owners who are unsure how to proceed and uncertain if their businesses will survive the sudden downturn in foot traffic.
Butler said that even as Congress deliberates a national stimulus package, elected officials at the state level should also consider organizing “the financial resources, whatever we can cobble together to help them out.”