Illinois' largest public employees' union says a strike is a real possibility.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is preparing right now to ask its members about striking if there's no progress this week on contract talks with Gov. Pat Quinn.
The union has been negotiating with Quinn on a new contract for more than a year.
The last contract expired June 30.
Most of AFSCME's 40 thousand members are allowed to strike. However state law prohibits security workers from walking out. Those include guards at prisons and juvenile detention centers in AFSCME's case.
The Associated Press asked Quinn last week whether he has ordered preparations for a work stoppage. But Quinn said only a governor is "always prepared." Labor experts say a strike is politically risky for both sides.
The union recently a memo to members offering tips on preparing for a strike, such as getting doctor visits done in advance and putting off large purchases. Click here to see that memo obtained by The Southern newspaper.