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CHI.Tribune/16 state workers laid off for politics will get $422,000


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Can't say I'm suprised


The state has agreed to pay a total of $422,000 to 16 state transportation workers who a federal jury determined were fired because they were Republicans during the Democratic administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, officials said Friday.

The 16 were laid off from jobs at the Illinois Department of Transportation in July 2004, the second year of Blagojevich's reign. They sued the agency for wrongful termination, and a federal jury agreed last month that they had been "fired for their political affiliations," said Donald Craven, an attorney for the workers.

Individual settlements were reached between the state and the workers rather than leaving it to the courts to award damages.

Nine workers already are back on the payroll, some with substantial pay increases. Some of the workers have declined offers to return.

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