Rauner: Stop hurting Illinois

Rally in Springfield

Rally in Springfield brings 10,000 union members and their supporters out to demand Gov. Bruce Rauner and his allies to stop hurting Illinois and drop their extreme, harmful demands and make Illinois work for all. Photo courtesy of AFSCME Council 31

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, May 26, 2016

SPRINGFIELD — With the state approaching a full year without a budget, working families in Illinois are feeling the effects of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s refusal to abandon his toxic agenda, so organized labor and its supports showed up in Springfield May 18 to let Rauner know how they feel.

Illinois Working Together Co-Chair and Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said Rauner doesn’t care about the hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling as never before because of his destructive policies.

Rally in Springfield

Members of IBEW Local 134 in Chicago march in Springfield towards Illinois’ capitol. Organized labor was protesting Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed changes to collective bargaining. Illinois State President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan left their chambers to join the rally. Photo courtesy of IBEW Local 134 member

“All of this devastation is due to one man — a mega-millionaire who thinks his huge wealth means he should be able to impose his will on an entire state. Governor Rauner is determined to ram through his extreme and harmful agenda — and he doesn’t care about how much damage he inflicts in the process,” Carrigan said to applause.

Statewide, public colleges and universities have announced layoffs, social service agencies are shutting down, construction projects have stalled, and businesses are owed billions for goods and services provided to the state.

Rauner is pushing policies that will lower the quality of life for all Illinoisans, especially those who depend on a weekly paycheck.

Rally in Springfield

Pro-Ruaner rally May 17 vs Rauner is Hurting Illinois Rally May 18

Illinois Working Together Co-Chair and Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez said he Turnaround Agenda would diminish wages, destroy worker protections, and completely wipe out what is left of the middle class in Illinois.

“Gov. Rauner, we are calling on you to end the devastating crisis you created. It’s time to create an Illinois that works for all — for our students, seniors, state employees, tradesmen and women, and all workers struggling to provide for their families,” Ramirez said.


Speakers at the rally included everyday Illinoisans who are suffering the consequences of the Rauner agenda, including students, seniors, tradesmen and women, and state employees.

“Every day, I see firsthand the harm the governor is causing,” said JoAnn Washington-Murry, a Child Welfare Specialist from Chicago. “Because the Governor is holding the budget hostage, treatment programs have had to scale back or shut down. That hurts children and families, because if parents can’t get help to turn their lives around, my only choice is to keep that child in foster care.”

Construction worker Amy Fasig from Christopher, Illinois was severely injured on the job in 2012 said they weren’t strong workers’ compensation law in Illinois, her family and I would have lost everything.

“We would have been responsible for millions in medical bills. If we let wealthy politicians and huge corporations lead Illinois in a race to the bottom, workers and their families will lose even more,” she explained.



University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student Stephanie Skora said because of Rauner, and his friends in the General Assembly, students have seen cuts at schools all over.

“Chicago State, Eastern, Western, Urbana-Champaign, and others are cutting staff and programs – jeopardizing my future and the future of my peers,” Skora said.

The rally was organized by Illinois Working Together, a coalition defending all working families from anti-worker attacks. Every union in the state participated in the rally.

Rauner’s Executive Order takes aim at unions

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Feb. 9 Executive Order

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery called Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Feb. 9 Executive Order “a blatant abuse of power” to try and eliminate so-called fair share dues paid by workers who don’t join a union. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015

SPRINGFIELD — In what Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery called “a blatant abuse of power,” Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an Executive Order Feb. 9 blocking thousands of state employees from paying fair share fees. The Governor also announced he has filed suit in federal court to have fair share provisions declared unconstitutional.

Rauner said 6,500 state employees are paying so-called “fair share” dues, or an average of $577 a year per worker.

Montgomery vowed the IFT will “proudly stand and fight alongside others to oppose Rauner’s overreaching order.”

Fair share fees are payments required of individuals who receive the pay and other contractual benefits negotiated by the union but who choose not to join. The Governor’s order may impact a small number of IFT state employee members, but it does not impact teachers or other employees in K-12 school districts or higher education faculty.

Decatur Club

Union members met Gov. Bruce Rauner outside the Decatur Club Feb. 6 in Decatur to send Rauner the message that right-to-work is wrong for Illinois. Photo courtesy of Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly

Rauner’s announcement makes it clear once again: While the state is suffering from significant fiscal problems, the new Governor’s priority is to attack middle class families and the unions who represent them rather than find real solutions to our challenges
The IFT is just one of several union committed to joining the fight against Rauner. AFSCME, which represents thousands of state workers, strongly condemned the Governor’s attack. AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch. “Our union and all organized labor will stand together with those who believe in democracy to overturn Bruce Rauner’s illegal action and restore the integrity of the rule of law,” she explained.

3_rauner executive order

Rauner can be overruled by the courts, or if lawmakers can gather enough votes to override his decision. Democrats hold supermajorities in the state Legislature.

Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said Rauner has been on a “blame crusade” that unfairly targets public employees.

“While he points to the salaries of those cooking the food in the cafeterias, guarding the prisoners and plowing the snow and ice from our roads as the culprits in our state financial woes, he is silent on the hundreds of tax breaks granted to large businesses and low corporate income tax in Illinois,” Carrigan said.

The executive order followed Rauner’s proposal last week, during his State of the State Address, for Illinois to adopt “right to work” zones around the state where communities are able to decide whether joining a union or paying union fees would be voluntary for local workers.

Rauner takes unfair potshot at public employees

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

SPRINGFIELD — New Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s Jan. 12 inaugural address identified big challenges facing state government. With the expiration of previous temporary personal and corporate income tax rates threatening to drain more than $3 billion from the state budget this year alone — and with that budget already significantly short-funded in key agencies that need supplemental appropriations — there’s no question those challenges are real. And no one has more at stake in helping solve them than AFSCME members who work on the front lines of state government.

Unfortunately, though, Gov. Rauner used the occasion of the speech to dis public employees, alleging that, “We have a state government that too few have faith in” because Illinoisans “see government union bosses negotiating sweetheart deals across the table from governors they’ve spent tens of millions to help elect.”

AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said the governor’s claim has absolutely no basis in reality and that the truth is her union has always negotiated in good faith with governors of both parties, those AFSCME Council 31 endorsed and those it didn’t.

“In every case, negotiations were tough but fair and based on mutual respect. While the suggestion of so-called ‘sweetheart deals’ implies unfairness or overpayment of some kind, the fact is that state employee pay increases have been in line with others in comparable jobs, as have the significant amounts employees contribute toward their health insurance and retirement benefits.

“AFSCME members in state government keep prisons safe, care for veterans and people with disabilities, protect kids from abuse and do much more,” Lynch said.

She went on to add that these hard-working men and women don’t have millions of dollars to pour into political campaigns, but they do have a deep commitment to serving the people of Illinois and every right to participate in the democratic process through their union.

In a newspaper story, Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said organized labor “will work with [Rauner] whenever we can, and if we need to, we’ll also work against his legislation.”

The article went on to quote two state senators: “Illinois’ middle class was built by unions. They ensure working men and women receive honest pay for an honest day’s work,” said state Sen. Gary Forby, a Benton Democrat and chairman of the Illinois Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. “I don’t understand why some politicians push so hard to take that away.”

State Sen. Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat added that the midwest was once the hub of the labor movement, but many neighboring states have spent the past few decades enacting policies that lead to slashed employee benefits, decreased wages and outsourced jobs.

“These shortsighted policies cripple working class families, which ultimately places a greater burden on our middle class,” Manar explained.

Gov. Rauner’s speech was vague about possible solutions to the state’s budget problems. As he seeks to tackle those problems, it is critical he include the input of frontline employees who know what’s working, what’s not and how state government can deliver vital public services more effectively.

—AFSCME Council 31