A majority of state workers in Illinois' largest public employee union have voted to authorize a strike.
According to the American Council of State, County, and Municipal Employees union, 81% of members voted yes to authorize the strike, if necessary.
AFSCME has been locked in a contract battle with Gov. Bruce Rauner for nearly two years. A labor regulator agreed with Rauner, saying negotiations had reached impasse.
The ruling means Rauner's administration can move forward with contract terms, and union employees can strike.
AFSCME leaders say this doesn't necessarily mean there will be a strike. Meetings to determine the next steps are scheduled, and they say pending lawsuits may also play a role in what happens next.
Illinois' largest public-employee union is set to announce the result of a strike-authorization vote.
The state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning.
The union has been unable to agree with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration on a contract to replace one that expired in June 2015.
Employees at work sites across the state voted from Jan. 30 through Sunday. They were asked whether to give the union's executive committee power to call a strike if necessary.
It's the first such vote in 40 years of state-employee collective bargaining.
A state labor regulator declared last fall that talks had reached ``impasse.'' That allows Rauner to implement the employment terms he prefers and the union to strike if it chooses.