Pension proposal is distraction from governor’s failures

Fox Valley Labor News staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton said the governor’s pension plan outlined at the governor’s news conference wasn’t what he and Rauner talked about. “It’s not my plan. It goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support.” Photo courtesy of Illinois Senate Democrats

CHICAGO — Days away from his second State of the State address, Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to distract from the fact he has failed to pass a state budget during his first year in office by announcing he will now support Democratic Senate President John Cullerton’s pension proposal — only Cullerton says it’s not his plan.

Hours after Rauners’ announcement, Cullerton released a statement and spoke out about the governor’s remarks.

“It’s not my plan. It goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support.” The statement also highlighted what he called a “fundamental disagreement role the role of collective bargaining.” He firmly believes collective bargaining should continue to exist, and the governor does not share that ideal.

Last spring, Cullerton called for a “consideration” model, which would offer public employees a “choice” between receiving cost-of-living-increases, or including pay raises in the calculation of their retirement benefits.

rauner-democrats-no-solution-mess

Gov. Bruce Rauner had a busy week, coming up with ideas for CPS to declare bankruptcy, then lying he was supporting Democratic Sen. President John Cullerton’s pension proposal — only he wasn’t. Wonder what he’ll say during his State of the State address?

Rauner said he wants to take that unconstitutional model further by including a legislative poison pill, proposing to take away workers’ rights to bargain salary increases with their employers.

Rauner insists that removing the right to bargain over wags would ensure the new bill passes constitutional muster.

Sen. Linda Holmes said she will not support any pension reform plan that would remove wage considerations from collective bargaining. “It’s another attack on organized labor,” she stressed.

We Are One Illinois coalition of unions called on the governor to give up on his damaging personal obsession against unions and finally get to work on the real issues impaction our state.

“Our coalition has always advocated a responsible solution to the pension funding issue that is both constitutional and fair. His disregard for working families is causing irreparable harm to children and communities across Illinois.

To add to the governor’s bone-headed ideas, a day earlier, his legislative allies proposed a plan for a state takeover of Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

The legislation was called a “lifeline” that would allow an oversight board to take over Chicago Public Schools (CPS), as it drowns in a $500 million budget deficit, and create a path to bankruptcy.

While there were no actual legislation to unveil, two bills will soon be introduced “within the week” to allow CPS and also the city of Chicago to declare bankruptcy, while the other wold create an oversight board for CPS.

In a statement, Cullerton said it won’t happen. “It’s mean-spirited and evidence of their total lack of knowledge of the real problems facing Chicago Public Schools.”

The bankruptcy idea was announced as CPS continues to meet around-the-clock with the Chicago Teachers Union on making a deal that would avert the need for up to 5,000 layoffs.

 

 

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10 stories

Fox Valley Labor News staff reports
Thursday, Dec. 31, 2016

Staff at the Fox Valley Labor News looks back at 2015’s Top Ten stories that impacted Labor and you – was your pick No. 1?

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10
‘If we must, we will withhold our labor’

‘If we must, we will withhold our labor’

The call for a strike by members of the Chicago Teachers Union came weeks before the year ended, but it’s still important enough to make our Top Ten lest this year.

An overwhelming majority of the Chicago Teachers Union, 88 percent, voted Dec. 14 to allow union leaders to call for a strike. It will be several months before the union decides whether to actually begin a strike. First, they’re going on a “fact-finding mission” in one last effort to resolve the negotiations.

If they do decide to walk out of their classrooms, it will be the second time the union — which has 27,000 members and serves the nation’s third largest school district in the nation — has gone on strike in just a few years.


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Archbishop Blase Cupich supports labor

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

In a speech to union members in September, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich pledged his support and that of the Catholic Church to strengthening the labor movement, talking about the principles of solidarity and the protection of the dignity of workers that link the labor movement and the Catholic Church together.

The Archbishop detailed expectations union members can have of the Archdiocese, pledging the church will be a prominent voice and ally in standing up for workers’ rights. Cupich directly challenged the measures of Right to Work laws.


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Secret TPP text unveiled – it’s worse than we thought

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

As one would expect with a deal negotiated behind closed doors with 500 corporate advisers and the public and press shut out — the agreement helps big business — not everyday Americans.

It’s predicted the deal will cause a massive trade deficit in manufacturing, which would result in hundreds of thousands of job losses.

The TPP would make it easier for corporations to offshore American jobs and would push down wages by throwing Americans into competition with Vietnamese workers making less than 65 cents an hour. It does nothing to stop international rule breakers — and countries like China will once again be the winners.


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Scabby the Rat stands strong

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

We couldn’t have a complete Top Ten list without the mention of Scabby the Rat and his Fat Cat counterpart. Without fail, these inflatables have stood strong for union members, helping secure union contracts and raising awareness of businesses using non-signatory contractors.

Scabby shows up everywhere! He’s been spotted at Twin Peaks restaurant in Warrenville; in Schaumburg protesting Miller Concrete Construction; in Niles supporting Chicago-area Coco-Cola refreshment workers on strike; in Westmont where LiUNA Local 68 was protesting Prime and in East Dundee where he was supporting locked out members of IAM Automobile Mechanics Local 701 when members picketed Al Piemonte Chevrolet.


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CPS financial mess

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

The mess that is the Chicago Public School system has suffered one blunder after another. The federal investigation into CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett role in a $20 million no-bid contract to the SUPES Academy was a major shady deal. Her departure hasn’t helped matters. After a year-long talk of a possible strike, teachers voted this month to authorize a strike.

After years of budget gimmicks and massive borrowing, CPS approved an operating budget, but it depended on a half-billion dollars’ worth of money from Springfield — which has yet to materialize. CPS is now looking at laying off thousands of teachers. Parents have turned to hunger strikes to get recognition for the plights of their children and their schools. Special education spending was cut and parents are still feeling the pain of 50 school closings in 2013.


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Fast food and retail workers Fight for $15

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

For the third year in a row, the call-to-action Fight for $15 campaign shows up in our Top Ten. This year, we saw Los Angeles, New York and other cities raise the minimum wage for their citizens.

Locally, the Fight for $15 campaign delivered 1.4 million petitions to McDonald’s shareholder meeting, urging hourly wages for the burger giant’s front-line workers be increased to $15 an hour.

In April Tens of thousands of workers from all low wage sectors and communities across America and the world made history in a massive mobilization for better pay, respect, and corporate accountability.

Effective July 1, McDonald’s increased starting wages to $1 above the local minimum at 1,500 company-owned restaurants. It does not effect franchisees, which operate the majority of U.S. restaurants.


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Organized labor takes on big projects

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

Organized labor rose to the challenge when it came to constructing projects in 2015 throughout the Chicagoland area. This month, CISCO will present its 2015 Pride in Construction Awards, which range from medical centers and parks to apartments and lofts.

In Aurora, the building trades were praised for their craftsmanship on the new Aurora library, a $28 million project, and for expansions to the Premium Outlet Mall and the Wrigley Manufacturing Co. in Yorkville.

Some Chicago construction included the Madison Racine Apartments, Cancer Treatment Center of America, Maggie Daley Park, Lemont Wet Weather Treatment Facility & Reservoir, Bensenville Police & Emergency Management Headquarters and AMLI Lofts.


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Sanders VS Clinton

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

Who’s going to win the Democratic nomination for president — Sen. Bernie Sanders or former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton? Time will tell. Top national labor unions have backed both candidates for different reasons. National leaders at SEIU announced an official endorsement of Clinton, despite Sanders getting a lot of support from local chapters. The American Postal Workers Union, the United Electrical Workers and the National Nurses United are backing Sanders. Former Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen is also helping lead the effort for Team Bernie.

At first, organized labor was hesitant to back Clinton — due to her opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and hesitance to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But along with SEIU backing Clinton, so is the American Federation of Teachers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.

Both Clinton and Sanders are succeeding by addressing some pretty mainstream issues: raising the minimum wage, equal pay protections for women, paid family leave, making college affordable, and universal background checks for gun purchases. The Democrats are not insulting each other and they are not spinning fantastic conspiracy theories — unlike the candidates on the GOP side.


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Who’s the craziest GOP presidential nominee?

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

The opportunity to run for president on the GOP ticket has turned into 3 ring circus. The presidential hopefuls have been whittled down from 17. Hands down, Donald Trump leads the pack of dimwits. Unfortunately, little can stop the rise of Trump. No matter how offensive or nonsensical his views, the millionaire businessman keeps doing better and better in the polls. From his views on Hillary Clinton’s inability to please her husband to his attacks on the physical appearance of other women, Trump proves time and time again what an ass he is.

We can’t forget how he suggested John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured, or how he characterized Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” Trump would also like to date his daughter Ivanka, you know, if she wasn’t already his DAUGHTER.


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Gov. Bruce Rauner’s anti-worker obsession

2015 Fox Valley Labor News Top 10

Illinois closes out 2015 and heads into 2016 without a state budget and with a governor at the helm doing nothing to remedy the issue. All year, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has pushed his Turnaround Agenda onto cities and municipalities, all in the hopes it will be approved so he can limit collective bargaining and the rights of workers injured on the job – hurting the middle class. Without a budget since July 1, vital human service agencies that receive state funding are hurting. As cities and municipalities consider Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, organized labor has shown up in droves to voice their concerns on Rauner’s anti-worker tactics, the elimination of prevailing wage and the implementation of right to work zones, which would strip workers of their right to form strong unions and bargain for a better life.

Aurora mayor recommends Cmd. Kristen Ziman as next police chief

Aurora Police Department Cmd. Kristen Ziman

Aurora Police Department Cmd. Kristen Ziman


Fox Valley Labor News staff reports
Friday, Jan. 8

AURORA – After an extensive process that included surveys, presentations and multiple interviews, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner made his recommendation from among four internal candidates.

“I’m very pleased to recommend Kristen as our next chief,” Weisner said during a press conference Thursday, Jan. 7. “Becoming Aurora’s first female police chief is not the only way she has been a trailblazer and I’m confident that her considerable talent will lead the department to new heights.”

Born and raised in Aurora, Commander Ziman has worked her way through the ranks during her nearly 25 year career with the Aurora Police Department, beginning as a police cadet in 1991.

“I am both excited and grateful beyond belief to serve the men and women of the Aurora Police Department and the citizens of this community” she said. “I do not take this responsibility lightly and will work tirelessly and energetically to build upon the legacy of this professional organization.”

A graduate of West Aurora High School, Ziman served three years as an Aurora Police cadet before becoming a sworn officer in 1994. She worked in patrol, field training, community policing and investigations as a domestic violence detective before being promoted to sergeant in 2003. She was promoted to lieutenant in 2008 and to commander in 2010.

Commander Ziman earned her Associate’s Degree from Waubonsee Community College, Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Aurora University and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Management from Boston University. In addition, she is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and completed the Kellogg Women’s Senior Leadership Program at Northwestern University, Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Senior Management Institute for Police.

Commander Ziman lives in Aurora with her spouse, Chris, and their children Megan, Jimmy, Bailey and Jacob.

Mayor Weisner’s recommendation will be considered by the City Council Tuesday, Jan. 12. If approved, she will begin as the new Aurora Police Chief immediately, making her the first female chief in the department’s history and the 28th chief in the history of the department.

Ziman has been “the first” in a number of positions throughout her career and has worked diligently to mentor other women in law enforcement locally and nationally. She is the Past President of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE).

“The short term goal is to build a Command Staff of individuals who will bring talent, expertise, and diversity of thought to the position. Once we have the decision-makers in place, we are going move immediately to action by identifying systems and processes that need to be created or improved upon”, Ziman said. “The long term goals are to be even more engaged with the citizens we serve and to continue to work tirelessly to make this community a safe place to live, work and play. In doing so, we will continue our efforts to reduce crime while protecting with vigilance and serving with compassion.”

The recommendation for Chief will be considered by the City Council Tuesday, Jan. 12 at a Special Committee of the Whole Meeting at 5 p.m., followed immediately by a meet and greet for the public on the fifth floor of City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place. At 6 p.m,. the City Council will convene for their regularly scheduled meeting, where they will vote on the Mayor’s recommendation for Chief of Police.
-City of Aurora/Aurora Police Department

All in the name of faith, labor and action

LIUNA International General President Terry O’Sullivan

LIUNA International General President Terry O’Sullivan wants labor and religious leaders to pray together to change the course and direction of unions, the labor movement and the country. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

You can view a portion of LIUNA’s International General President Terry O’Sullivan’s speech during the Arise Chicago Faith Labor Action Breakfast by going to the Fox Valley Labor News YouTube channel

CHICAGO — LIUNA’s International General President Terry O’Sullivan made it a point to acknowledge that most of the world’s holy books would be stripped bare if passages relating to social justice were cut from them.

O’Sullivan has strong remarks Nov. 24 regarding labor and religion during Arise Chicago’s annual Faith Labor Action Breakfast where he was the keynote speaker. He said Arise Chicago has embraced the prophetic vision of social justice and human rights that is common to many religions, yet is too often ignored by some.

“Defending the dignity of workers is a powerful, righteous and persuasive response, both to those who attack unions, and to those who say religious leaders should stay out of worldly affairs, he explained.

This year, Arise Chicago helped pass a county ordinance to discourage businesses from stealing wages from their employees, participated in the Fight for $15 rallies, and supported and backed workers from CAN-TV during its unionizing efforts.

“When you stand with us on picket lines, at public hearings, and during organizing campaigns, you not only strengthen our cause, you actively live your faith,” O’Sullivan said.

During the breakfast, Arise Chicago presented Fr. Clete Kiley with the Prophetic Leadership award. Kiley is moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Chicago and director of Immigration Policy for UNITE HERE international union.

The Chicago Access Network-TV workers were collectively awarded the Faithful Leadership award.

As part of its efforts to secure and educate workers on their workers’ rights, Arise Chicago asked for help in translating its Workers’ Rights Manual from English to Spanish, which would cost an estimated $10,000.

LIUNA’s International union stepped up to the plate, pledging the money for the translation. LIUNA International Vice President Terry Healy said it was the “right thing to do.”

Looking to the future, O’Sullivan said Arise Chicago is showing labor how building alliances can protect what has been accomplished.

“You have built a model for how religious groups and labor unions can work together on common goals. We need to grow this model out and up . . . to build and strengthen religious labor ties,” he added. “This alliance between faith groups and the labor movement, combines the moral power of faith, with the people power of labor to achieve what neither of us could achieve on our own.”

Budget impasse may cripple IMSA students

IMSA_web

Sen. Linda Holmes

Senator Linda Holmes
Personal view
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is facing financial difficulties. It draws funding from the state’s higher ed appropriations, and Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed that spending. IMSA has informed parents it faces major financial hurdles starting in December as a result. Fair labor laws and access to quality education ensure a thriving middle class, and right now it seems both are in peril.

I am frustrated at the continued impasse in Springfield that now threatens to derail the education of some of our state’s brightest students.

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora draws some of the highest performing students from across Illinois to focus on science, technology, engineering and math. These are the fields which are critical to the continued success of our country’s role as a lead innovator. As Gov. Bruce Rauner refuses to work with the Democratic majorities in the General Assembly to craft a compromise budget, one of the unfunded portions is higher education. IMSA relies on part of that budget to fund its operations.

I helped approve a budget for higher education in Illinois. Gov. Rauner vetoed it, eliminating all funding.

Now, IMSA has informed parents that, absent state support for higher education, it does not know how it will continue operations come December.

At this point, I don’t know what will move Gov. Rauner off his anti-union agenda that everything, including the state budget and IMSA funding, is tied to. His inaction already closed the doors of a 60-year-old child care facility in Aurora and sent the message to physically and financially vulnerable Illinoisans that their state does not care about them.

This intractable situation is poised to affect children whose achievements could shape the future of the state in areas vital to our economic success. I want to urge your readers to call for an end to the budget stalemate, on behalf of schools like IMSA and the public universities that are also imperiled by this failure. I helped approve a spending plan that went to the governor.

He could have worked with us to make changes to what he didn’t like. Instead, he shut almost everything down. It is up to him to act like a statesman.

Indian Trail bridge is (finally) open!

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

AURORA — The City celebrated the end of five-year journey of planning, permitting engineering and constructing the Indian Trail bridge with a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 16, which included the mayor, dignitaries and the public.

“Indian Trail really is an artery in our community . . . that is a critical, critical street,” Mayor Tom Weisner explained.

Eighty percent of the $9.5 million project was funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation Highway Bridge Program fund. The remaining 20 percent was paid for using local motor fuel tax funds.

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, center, along with officials, celebrate the Oct. 16 opening of the Indian Trail bridge. Originally constructed in 1963, the bridge was in much needed repair. More than 21,000 vehicles travel across the bridge each day. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, center, along with officials, celebrate the Oct. 16 opening of the Indian Trail bridge. Originally constructed in 1963, the bridge was in much needed repair. More than 21,000 vehicles travel across the bridge each day. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said in 1963, when the Indian Trail bridge was first being constructed, he rode his bike past the bridge construction on his way to Marmion Academy, then located on Lake Street. The bridge opened to traffic Oct. 16.   Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said in 1963, when the Indian Trail bridge was first being constructed, he rode his bike past the bridge construction on his way to Marmion Academy, then located on Lake Street. The bridge opened to traffic Oct. 16. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Aurora’s Director of Public Works Ken Schroth said there were 40,000 man hours needed to construct the bridge, and nearly 10,000 hours of design engineering an supervision.

He explained millions of dollars were saved after the bridges existing piers, and majority of its steel were reused. Despite weather-related delays, the project was completed on time through the efforts of D Construction.

The bridge now has wider sidewalks, outside lanes to help facilitate bicycle traffic and LED lighting.

In the past 10 years, the City of Aurora has rebuilt 10 bridges. Weisner said nationally, out of every nine bridges in the nation is considered structurally deficient. Even if that is the national statistic, Weisner said that number won’t be seen in Aurora. “Not on our watch,” he added. “You cannot ignore infrastructure. If you do that, you do it at great cost to the community, and to the future of your community.”

Officials, including Reps. Linda Chapa-LaVia and Stephanie Kifowit, Sen. Linda Holmes, and Rep. Bill Foster collectively thanked the taxpayers of Aurora, who, through their tax dollars, funded the motor fuel tax.

“Without the tax dollars [taxpayers] pay into the coffer of the state of Illinois, we would not be standing on this amazing, beautiful bridge. The taxpayers make the blood pump within the hearts that exist in this community,” Chapa LaVia explained.

Going above and beyond for Democrats

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

JOLIET — Even as Labor leader Richard “Dick” Manley was being honored for his efforts and commitment to the success of the Will County Democratic Central Committee, he was humbled enough to acknowledge Will County Executive Larry Walsh’s efforts to the organization, calling Walsh his “Captain Marvel.”

“He is very popular, he is very compassionate and he does an excellent job — and his job is not always easy,” Manley explained.

Manley was the recipient of the 2015 Larry Walsh Lifetime Achievement Award during the annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner Oct. 9 in Joliet, held at IBEW Local 176.

Manley first served as president of AFT Local 1291 and continued as president when it merged with Local 604 in 1976.

2015 Jefferson Jackson Dinner Keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth is pictured with, from left, Will County Democratic Central Committee Secretary Karen Gonzalez, Chairman Scott Pyles and Treasurer Kevin Clancy. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

2015 Jefferson Jackson Dinner Keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth is pictured with, from left, Will County Democratic Central Committee Secretary Karen Gonzalez, Chairman Scott Pyles and Treasurer Kevin Clancy. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth said Illinois doesn’t have another county as unique as Will County. It knows how to expand manufacturing and provide job training, as well as make investments in transportation and infrastructure. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth said Illinois doesn’t have another county as unique as Will County. It knows how to expand manufacturing and provide job training, as well as make investments in transportation and infrastructure. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Under Manley’s watch, Local 604 has grown to 75 councils in 10 counties, with almost 11,000 members, to become the second largest federated local in Illinois.

Candidates running for office are considered “fortunate” if they receive an endorsement from Manley and Local 604. “If you do, you better rise high and project that endorsement because that is one very, very favorable endorsement,” Walsh explained.

Manley and Walsh’s friendship goes back many years, and even though the two have disagreed on issues, Manley was always fair. “He was forthright. You never needed to guess what Mr. Manley’s opinion was because he came out and told you, without a doubt, what his opinion was,” Walsh said.

As a leader of many of Illinois’ teachers, Manley said his organization is vulnerable to anti-labor policies Gov. Bruce Rauner would like to place on organized labor. “Our goal, and I hope every one of your goals, is to destroy Bruce Rauner in the next election. This has got to be all the Democrats first priority: Get rid of Bruce Rauner,” Manley stressed.

American Federation of Teachers Local 604 President Richard “Dick” Manley was the recipient of the 2015 Larry Walsh Lifetime Achievement Award. Manley was honored during the Will County Democratic Central Committee’s annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner Oct. 9 in Joliet. Will County Executive Larry Walsh said Manley is one of the state’s strongest advocates for teachers. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

American Federation of Teachers Local 604 President Richard “Dick” Manley was the recipient of the 2015 Larry Walsh Lifetime Achievement Award. Manley was honored during the Will County Democratic Central Committee’s annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner Oct. 9 in Joliet. Will County Executive Larry Walsh said Manley is one of the state’s strongest advocates for teachers. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Guests at the dinner were honored to hear keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth give an update of happenings in Washington. “Just when you think it’s really bad, it gets worse. It’s like watching a very bad car accident on the freeway between two clown cars,” she explained. When it comes to Illinois’ budget impasse, combined with the recent resignation of the Speaker of the House, a position that remains unfilled, she says it’s bad for democracy.

“It’s bad for our nation, and we can do better,” Duckworth said.

Referring to elected officials and labor leaders alike, Duckworth said their efforts are akin to standing the perimeter in a combat situation. “You protect the things that are valuable to us and to Democratic values. This nation is at a point in time where, if we don’t elect the right people in Washington, we’re in deep trouble,” she said.

Richard “Dick” Manley, far right, received the Larry Walsh Lifetime Achievement award from the Will County Democratic Central Committee. He is president of the AFT Local 604, the second largest federated local in Illinois.Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Richard “Dick” Manley, far right, received the Larry Walsh Lifetime Achievement award from the Will County Democratic Central Committee. He is president of the AFT Local 604, the second largest federated local in Illinois. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Joe Serpico: Loyal and dedicated to the Labor cause

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

ADDISON — “I don’t call Joe my friend. I don’t call him a union guy — I call him my fratello, which in Italian, means, ‘my brother.’”

Louis Cairo had those enduring words Oct. 3 for Joe Serpico, a through-and-through family man, union leader and recent recipient of the Italian American Labor Council (IALC) of Greater Chicago Man of the Year award.

Cairo, senior partner at Goldberg Weisman Cairo (GWC) has the honor of working with Serpico at GWC. Serpico is the law firm’s labor liaison. Cairo himself is a past recipient of the award an understands the significance of the award.

joe_serpico_2

IALC President Anthony Guida presents Joe Serpico the Man of the Year award Oct. 3 in Addison. Guida said Serpico’s passion shows in everything he does. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

joe_serpico_4

Several colleges and friends of Joe Sepico, center, talked about his loyalty and dedication in his roles as in the IBEW organization, at Amalgamated Bank of Chicago and currently with Golberg Weisman Cairo. Sepico is pictured with, from left, Louis Cairo, Joseph Borrelli, Tom Villanova and Anthony Guida. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“This is quite an honor. This organization is not just a social club — this organization is about family, and that’s what I love about it,” Cairo explained.

In recognizing a Man of the Year recipient, the IALC looks for people who go above and beyond with leadership skills and a commitment to the Labor movement.

There is no doubt Serpico is a family man. Speaker after speaker made mention of his love of family — which attend the awards night, including his wife, two children and six grandchildren.

Serpico acknowledged his family’s support of his union endeavors over the years. “I’m blessed with an amazing and supportive family . . . who has always been there, to encourage me to succeed.”

joe_serpico_3

Joe Serpico, far right, is shown with his family during the Italian American Labor Council’s annual Dinner Dance where Serpico was the recipient of the Man of the Year award for his leadership skills and a commitment to the Labor movement. Serpico said his family’s support of his union endeavors encouraged him to succeed. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

He was visibly emotional talking about his grandchildren, who he asked to stand and be acknowledged by guests. “They are my pride and joy. I enjoy being with them so much.”
Serpico started his union career in 1965 as a member of IBEW Local 1031 at the Rauland Division of Zenith Electronics Corporation. He rose through the ranks, becoming Department Steward, Chief Steward, Executive Board Secretary, Business Representative and finally, President in 1989, a position he held until 2005.
Nine years later, in the spring of 2014, IBEW Local 1031 was absorbed by Local 134. Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council President Tom Villanova said he believes if Serpico was still leading that Local, there would have been a different outcome for it.

“I believe they’d be alive and growing. Thank God Joe shares our passion and hope for the future of this organization. He’ll keep the Italian American Labor Council alive and growing for a long time to come,” Villanova said.
After leaving IBEW, Serpico joined Amalgamated Bank of Chicago as Vice President, Relationship Manger, delivering state-of-the-art banking services and products to union customers.

IALC Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Borrelli noted the three industries Serpico has worked in — IBEW, banking and now a law firm — are all very different, yet Serpico has succeeded in all of them. Borrelli believe it’s Serpico’s traits of loyalty, dedication and a sense of humor that propel him forward.

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The Italian American Labor Council of Greater Chicago honored Joe Sepico Oct. 3 in Addison with its Man of the Year award for Sepico’s leadership skills and a commitment to the Labor movement. Jennifer Rice, staff photographer

“His dedication may be the key. For our own organization, Joe works tirelessly on our golf outings, this event and on our membership. You’d think this year, being honored, he’d take the year off, but he didn’t. He worked just as hard tonight on his own event as he worked on any other awards event,” Borrelli explained.
Serpico acts as President Emeritus for the IALC

IALC President Anthony Guida presented Serpico the Man of the Year award, adding that Serpico’s passion shows in everything he does. “Your contributions have made this organization prominent in our community.”

No end in sight for state’s budget impasse

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

AURORA — Illinois’ budget impasse could have long-lasting consequences on its most vulnerable residents as a number of government vendors haven’t been paid for their services since the fiscal year began on July 1.

Sen. Linda Holmes has had conversations with parents who need help from the state caring for their mentally disabled child and parents who need to put their children in day care — but there is no assistance to help them. “The only thing moving are court-ordered mandates for human services,” Holmes explained.

Vouchers were issued for community bases services only after a U.S. District Judge ordered it after attorneys for the people with disabilities asked the judge to hold state officials in contempt of court.

As a legislature, Sen. Linda Holmes said it’s frustrating to take no action on the state’s budget, especially when she has people suffering in her districts. “I sincerely care about what I do. I really care about the people of my district.” Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“These are issues that literally, keep me awake at night. I have never worried this much about my budget. This is a huge crisis and unfortunately, I don’t see an end to it,” she said.

Holmes spoke to supporters Oct. 1 at a fundraiser at Hopvine in Aurora, which consisted mostly of union members and organized labor supporters.

With the budget at an impasse and nothing moving, Holmes understands municipalities and schools in her district are kept wondering what is going on, and more importantly, when is it going to change?

“We don’t know what is going to happen — and I hate telling you that because typically, in my job, it’s about fostering an ability to work together — to work across the aisle and come up with solutions that work for everybody. Unfortunately, we’re seeing things at the biggest standstill I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And it’s very discouraging,” she explained.

Legislatures are not expected back to Springfield until Oct. 20 — but when she returns, Holmes promises to continue to be an outspoken advocate.

Effects of the current budget crisis:

  • State employees are paying for medical care out-of-pocket.
  • Fewer parents can send their children to day care.
  • Low-income families have lost their energy assistance.
  • More than 100 state workers could soon be laid off.

Learning about jobs for medical cannabis

Jim Smith, managing member of Silver Star Protection Group

Jim Smith, managing member of Silver Star Protection Group, discusses the strict regulations placed on the Illinois medical cannabis industry. He believes there are benefits to medical cannabis. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

WARRENVILLE — With resumes in hand, several persons interested in employment in the medical cannabis field attended a job information session Oct. 3 in Warrenville at the IBEW Local 701 campus. The job information session was hosted by UFCW Local 881 and Healthway Services of West Illinois, which will be operating the dispensary, to be located in the 3700 block of Illinois Avenue in St. Charles.

UFCW Local 881 Legislative and Political Director Marina Faz-Huppert explained to participants that Local 881 has emerged as the forefront organization to unionize these potential cannabis workers. “We view our role in the industry as one that will build greater acceptance and understanding for responsible operators like Healthway Services of West of Illinois,” Faz-Huppert explained.

St. Charles dispensary owner Irina Zhukovsky is CEO of Healthway Services of West Illinois. Owning a home health care agency, many of her patients asked her about medical cannabis. After doing extensive research, she felt opening a dispensary was the right way to go. The dispensary is set for an inspection Nov. 2, and will possibly open in December.

Irina Zhukovsky is CEO of Healthway Services of West Illinois

St. Charles medical cannabis dispensary owner Irina Zhukovsky is CEO of Healthway Services of West Illinois. There will be an inspection of her facility Nov. 2, with a possible December opening date. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Besides gaining information on employment as a dispensary consultant, guests also were given information on available security jobs.

Jim Smith, managing member of Silver Star Protection Group, discussed the strict regulations placed on the Illinois medical cannabis industry. “We think the rules and the regulations in place is going to make this a safe industry in Illinois,” he said.

As a former U.S. Marshals Service inspector, Smith said not only is he an advocate for security his organization is going to provide, he’s also an advocate for the industry. “As a medicinal form of medicine, I’m all for it. We think there’s benefits to it. We’re out here to educate folks to get people to understand that this isn’t something to be afraid of. This is something that is going to help people.”

Patients will be fingerprinted and undergo a background check. They also must register with one dispensary, which can be changed, and are limited to 2.5 ounces every 14 days.