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Illinois prison agency rescinds nurse layoffs to still talk

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Corrections has withdrawn its plan to lay off 124 nurses while continuing to negotiate with the state employees’ union.

Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said Thursday the department had informed the Illinois Nurses Association that it would not remove the nurses June 15. She says prison officials are available to meet any time but the union is unavailable until May 8.

Union spokesman Chris Martin says the Corrections Department decision is welcome news. He encouraged support for legislation to halt privatizing prison jobs that was sent to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Associated Press reported in March that the Corrections Department announced it would replace the nurses with those hired by a private health care provider.

The union says Rauner reneged on an obligation to keep negotiating an expired contract.

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