Rauner lays out how second term will be different, blames Emanuel for first-term failures


Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday raised the central questions surrounding his re-election campaign: What exactly would be different in a second term? Why won’t his agenda “just be crushed by” Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan “again and again?”

The governor then sought to provide answers, saying he’s counting on the courts to give him several “transformative” wins over organized labor, allowing him to bypass Madigan’s opposition.

Rauner, who has taken criticism for recently suggesting he was “not in charge” of state government, also blamed lawmakers and Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his inability to gain traction on his first-term economic agenda.

Legislators in both parties lack “guiding principles,” instead favoring their jobs and pensions, the governor said. As for Emanuel, the mayor was “politically devastated” after the release of the Laquan McDonald police shooting video and surrendered his independence to Madigan, Rauner contended.

Mayoral spokesman Matt McGrath responded that “the only thing Bruce Rauner is worse at than governing is accepting responsibility.”

The governor’s explanations came as he met for an hour with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, summarizing his 2017 and pointing ahead to his fourth year in office. He faces a primary challenge driven by anger from social conservatives and a potential general election contest against a Democrat with even more financial resources than he has.

Rauner spent more than half the time talking about his stalled agenda, his success in vetoing Democratic proposals and how he could work around Madigan. The governor said there are major items that can be accomplished “without the speaker in the second term that are transformative to give us a better future.”

Top among those is an expected June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on an Illinois case that Rauner supports and the Trump administration Justice Department backs. The case challenges the requirement that public union members pay “fair share” dues even if they disagree with union membership.

“If we win, it will transform government. It will transform state government, local government and school districts in every state in America,” Rauner said.

“I will be able to have thousands of state employees not be in the union who don’t want to be, and I will be able to pay them based upon productivity and merit and bonuses, and pay them more based on what they do for the service quality and taxpayer benefit than seniority,” he added.

Justices previously deadlocked on a similar case prior to Justice Neil Gorsuch joining the court following Trump’s appointment. Labor groups are concerned the Illinois case could wipe out a 40-year-old legal standard for paying union dues.

Rauner also is looking for the courts to reverse rulings that prohibited Illinois municipalities and counties from enacting their own right-to-work ordinances, which prohibit required union membership in the private and public sector. A 2015 ordinance passed in Lincolnshire was struck down this year by a federal judge but is being appealed.

“If we can win this, I can bring dozens of manufacturing firms” to Illinois, he said.

Many unionized state workers have been without a new contract as Rauner attempts to impose the terms of his final offer. The union sued, and Rauner said Tuesday that labor is trying to delay the legal proceedings “and hope I lose.” Rauner said he if were to win re-election next year, the courts would be hard-pressed to continue the case another four years.

Rauner maintained he is not “anti-union,” but he has sharply attacked the Chicago Teachers Union and has referred to the state’s largest employee’s union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 as “Af-Scammy.” The governor on Tuesday reiterated what he calls a “conflict of interest”: Public unions give campaign contributions to Democrats, who turn around and grant raises and benefits.

Madigan, who also is the state’s Democratic chairman, heavily counts on organized labor for campaign cash and manpower in House races to maintain his control as speaker, and adverse court rulings could substantially weaken his power.

When Rauner appeared before the Tribune Editorial Board just months into his first term in April 2015, he promoted the idea that “Crisis creates opportunity. Crisis creates leverage to change.” It became a precursor to a historic 736-day budget impasse, a test of wills between his pro-business, union-weakening agenda and labor-backed Democrats who control the legislature.

That same bravado the former private equity investor used to win his first public office was not in evidence Tuesday. Instead, Rauner spoke in subdued tones and acknowledged that to make the changes he wants, he “can’t do this alone,” even as he faulted members of his own Republican Party.

Some Republicans joined Democrats in July to end the impasse by passing a major income tax hike and spending plan over Rauner’s vetoes. As a result, the governor said the state had “lost” an opportunity for economic change.

“We had the possibility of a transformation for the state with the crisis that we had — if we had a principled caucus. It’s the primary reason I ran. We had the opportunity for a massive transformation. We lost that,” the Republican governor said.

“I can’t do this alone. It’s just not possible. It has to be a team effort. And I’m a volunteer. I’m just doing this because I want to get a better future. When you’re trying to team up with people who are doing it because it’s a job and they want a salary and a pension and want to take the easy road, it’s hard,” said the governor, who doesn’t take a state salary.

“In order to have change, you have to have a vision. You have to have principles, guiding principles, free enterprise or protecting taxpayers or whatever your principles are. If you don’t have guiding principles, you don’t have a road map of where to go. And the General Assembly hasn’t had that. It’s been power for power’s sake and a job and a pension,” he said.

Rauner is expected to fund Republican legislative candidates, much as he did a year ago in pouring millions of dollars into campaigns that cut into Madigan’s House Democratic majority, which now stands at 67-51.

To rebuild a “team” effort in the legislature among Republicans, he said, “you need reformers or you’re not going to get it done.”

Beyond blaming Madigan and the General Assembly for failing to achieve his agenda, Rauner also struck out at Emanuel, a onetime vacation friend turned highly vocal critic.

“We were making tremendous progress my first year. Mayor Emanuel was helping me. The caucus was together. And we were negotiating the material items that could really lead to progress,” Rauner said.

Then, the governor said, came the November 2015 release of the police dash-cam video of the October 2014 fatal shooting of 17-year-old McDonald by Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

“After the McDonald, Laquan McDonald, shooting tragedy, tragedy in every level, (there was a) completely different dynamic. Completely different dynamic, and the mayor was no longer independent from the speaker and was no longer helpful to the effort,” Rauner said.

Emanuel, the governor said, was “politically devastated” by the video, and as a result, “basically became subservient to the speaker.”

Rauner’s broadside came while Emanuel was out of town on his annual holiday vacation. But McGrath, the mayoral spokesman, slammed Rauner’s three-year tenure.

“He hasn’t proposed a balanced budget the entire time he’s been in office, but he did manage to cripple Illinois’ social service network and oversee a massive increase in the state’s backlog of unpaid bills. With a record like that, it’s not surprising the governor is pointing fingers at everyone else and pleading that he’s not in charge,” he said.

Rauner also took aim at Michael Sacks, the wealthy CEO of asset management firm GCM Grosvenor who also plays a top behind-the-scenes advisory role for the mayor.

“Michael Sacks then became, went from being independent, and Rahm being independent, to working with the speaker very directly and taking direction from the speaker,” Rauner said. “Michael Sacks, you should hear him talk about the speaker now. It’s like, you know, it’s his long lost uncle.”

Told of Rauner’s criticism Tuesday, Sacks offered a rare, albeit brief, public comment.

“That’s sad,” Sacks said. “Bruce needs to stop blaming others for his failure, take a long look in the mirror and figure out how to do a better job.”

Rauner was not asked about his March 20 Republican primary opponent, state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, who has said she was motivated to launch a challenge after the governor signed into law a bill that expanded taxpayer-subsidized abortions to women on Medicaid and state employee health insurance.

Ives, who is counting on support from social conservatives, earlier in the day held a news conference to call for changes in public pensions. She wants a state constitutional amendment to remove a clause that prevents public employee pensions from being diminished or impaired for future workers, to put new employees in 401(k)-style benefit plans, and to authorize municipalities to seek federal bankruptcy protection.

Rick Pearson and Bill Ruthhart

Contact Reporter

Chicago Tribune



Article Photo: Gov. Bruce Rauner meets with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board on Dec. 19, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

Trump administration sides with Rauner in Supreme Court case over union fees


President Donald Trump’s administration has endorsed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s side of a legal case challenging fees public employee unions collect from nonmembers, saying in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that the system is unconstitutional.

Rauner brought the case shortly after he was sworn into office in 2015, saying he wanted to see the issue all the way to the Supreme Court. He was later removed from the case but has continued to tout it.

Illinois is one of about two dozen states that require many workers to pay what’s known as “fair share” fees to public employee unions even if they are not union members. The thinking is that workers who are not part of a union still benefit from its services, even if they don’t support its political agenda.

Unions negotiate new contracts and handle grievances on behalf of all workers within a bargaining unit, not just those who are members. The fair share fees help pay for those efforts.

Rauner contends that the fee arrangement violates free speech and that workers should not have to support unions they don’t want to belong to. Unions are not allowed to spend fair share fees on political activities such as campaign contributions, but the governor says it’s impossible to separate political activities because public-sector unions negotiate directly with the government.

The Trump administration agrees with Rauner, according to a brief it filed with the courton Wednesday.

“In the public sector, speech in collective bargaining is necessarily speech about public issues,” the administration’s brief said. “Virtually every matter at stake in a public-sector labor agreement affects the public fisc, and therefore is a matter of public policy concerning all citizens. Moreover, issues like tenure for state employees, merit pay, and the size of the state workforce are about more than money: they concern no less than the proper structure and operation of government. To compel a public employee to subsidize his union’s bargaining position on these questions is to force him to support private political and ideological viewpoints with which he may strongly disagree.”

The Trump administration’s position in the case is a reversal of the federal government’s original stance on the issue. Under the Obama administration, government lawyers had argued in support of the unions.

The Rauner administration did not respond to a request for comment. But one of Rauner’s Democratic rivals was quick to pounce on it as evidence that the governor is aligned with Trump.

Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement that “after failed attempts to force his special interest agenda on Illinois, Rauner is partnering with Trump to roll back worker’s rights on a national scale.”

Rauner, who is seeking re-election, has tried to keep a distance from Trump to avoid alienating the moderate voters he’ll need in order to win a second term.

By: Kim Geiger

Chicago Tribune


Twitter @kimgeiger

Article Photo: President Donald Trump’s administration has endorsed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s side of a legal case challenging fees public employee unions collect from nonmembers, (AFP/Getty Images, left; Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)



JB Pritzker Event!

jb governor         feelthepower

JB Pritzker is making a special announcement tomorrow, December 8th at the Theatre on the Lake. We will be showing JB our support with a sea of LiUNA orange! Bring everyone you can for JB’s announcement!

A call to Laborers to join together at 10:30am! The event begins sharply at 11:00am.

2401 N. Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, Illinois 

Wear your LiUNA orange brothers and sisters!





Building America Starts with the Builders

LIUNA Members on Hill to Urge Congress to Save TPS

Washington, D.C. (December 5, 2017) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement on LIUNA’s advocacy for Temporary Protected Status.

Today, LIUNA members joined fellow union members of UNITE HERE, UFCW, IUPAT, the Iron Workers and Bricklayers to deliver 40,000 petitions pushing Congress to fix the Temporary Protect Status program (TPS) which will expire without legislative action.


The Temporary Protected Status Program is a crucial humanitarian program that not only provides an opportunity to get ahead in the United States for those who have fled natural disaster and conflicts in their home country, it is also crucial to the construction industry.


An estimated 30 percent of TPS-holders, work in the construction industry – literally building America.


Congress must not allow political wrangling to short-change our economy and upend the lives of immigrants in the TPS program, who have become part of the fabric of our communities, working, paying taxes and raising families.


LIUNA strongly urges Congress to adopt a legislative fix to extend the TPS program before the clock runs out.







Wisconsin Has Seen Largest Middle-Class Decline Of Any State, Study Finds


Economist Says De-Unionization, Recession, Erosion Of Manufacturing Are Factors

A new state-by-state analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that Wisconsin experienced the biggest decline in middle-class households in the country between the years 2000 and 2013.

The study found that the percentage of households in the middle class dropped in all 50 states, with Wisconsin’s drop from 54.6 percent to 48.9 percent being the most significant. Moreover, Wisconsin saw a 14 percent decline in median household income.

Marc Levine — professor of history, economic development and urban studies, and director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Economic Development — attributed the state’s shrinking middle class to the Great Recession, among other factors. He said reversing the trend would require raising the minimum wage and restoring unions, especially in the manufacturing industry.

Wisconsin’s economy relies on manufacturing perhaps more than any other state, said Levine. When manufacturing gets hit hard, he said, Wisconsin gets hit hard too.

Since 2000, Wisconsin has lost about 90,000 — between 18 to 20 percent — of its manufacturing jobs, according to Levine, in part due to free trade agreements and Chinese imports.

Levine said another big part of the story has been “downward occupational skidding.” Laid-off manufacturing workers have been displaced into lower-paying jobs in the service industry, and those who have been able to continue working in the manufacturing industry have seen stagnant wages.

“It turns out the manufacturing jobs aren’t paying what they use to anymore, and a big chunk of that is because of the de-unionization that has occurred,” said Levine.  

In the late 1960s, an estimated 35 percent of Wisconsin’s total workforce and 50 percent of manufacturing workers were unionized, according to Levine. Today, roughly 11 percent of Wisconsin workers are in a union. That figure is 17 percent for manufacturing workers.

To grow Wisconsin’s middle class, Levine recommends raising the minimum wage to a “living wage” and supporting the ability of workers to engage in collective bargaining.

“In Wisconsin, we’ve obviously gone the opposite way over the last three or four years,” Levine said. “Act 10 took away the collective bargaining rights for public employees, and the rate of unionization in the public sector has declined by about half in the state. And of course, we just passed a right-to-work law and right-to-work states, the research suggests, tend to have lower wages. Those sorts of policies are pushing us in the wrong direction.”

By Scottie Lee Meyers
Thursday, April 2, 2015, 3:35pm

Back on the trail, Rauner recycles campaign themes with Madigan attacks

rauner 3

Gov. Bruce Rauner hit the road Monday as he asks voters for a second term in office, recycling many of the same ideas he’s long pushed with little success.

The Republican governor began his weeklong tour of Illinois at a manufacturing plant in Decatur, a familiar backdrop for a politician who argues many of the state’s financial problems can be solved by cutting regulations on businesses so they can create more jobs.

While he’s failed to gain much traction in an area he says is key to business growth — curbing the cost of workers’ compensation insurance for employees hurt on the job — Rauner says he’s not ready to give up. He identified other priorities that likewise aren’t new, including freezing property taxes and giving voters the ability to reduce tax levies through ballot referendums, and enacting term limits on lawmakers through an amendment to the state constitution.

Rauner did add one new goal: rolling back the major income tax increase lawmakers put in place this summer as part of a larger deal to end the state’s two-year budget impasse. While some Republicans joined Democrats to override Rauner’s veto of the tax and budget plan, the governor put the blame squarely on political nemesis and longtime Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

“Mike Madigan and his legislators put in place a major income tax hike on you,” Rauner told about a dozen workers following a tour at T/CCI Manufacturing, which produces heavy-duty compressors.

Rauner said he’d like to reduce the 4.95 percent personal income tax rate to 3 percent “over the next few years.”

“There are many states that have no income tax. Now I haven’t argued that we should go that far, though I am hoping for that, but there’s no reason that we can’t bring that income tax hike back down to 3 percent,” Rauner said.

Asked how he would make up for the billions of dollars in lost revenue, Rauner said he would seek to cut costs related to the state’s public employee pension system and health care program for the poor. Again, he pointed to Madigan as standing in the way of those efforts.

“We waste billions of dollars in pension costs, in Medicaid, in the size of our government bureaucracy, and if we worked together to shrink those costs, and I’ve recommended ways to do that, so far Speaker Madigan’s lawmakers have not wanted to do pension reform, they’ve not wanted to help us on Medicaid reform, but we can do it if we get like-minded legislators in place,” Rauner said.

The governor called on voters to ask those seeking office if they planned to support Madigan’s re-election as speaker, a strategy Rauner first employed during legislative races in 2016. In the end, 66 of 67 Democratic members voted for Madigan to serve his 17th term as speaker.

“Don’t vote for anyone who won’t promise not to vote for Mike Madigan to be speaker again after 35 years,” Rauner said. “We need fresh leadership and more ethical government.”

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said the speaker “has been supportive of attempts to compromise” but noted earlier efforts to curb pension costs have been thrown out by the courts. Brown also asked if Rauner would spend money coming in from the tax increase given his opposition, before comparing Rauner to imprisoned former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“Those people who thought Gov. Blagojevich was the nutty governor, this guy is racing ahead of former Gov. Blagojevich,” Brown said.

Though Rauner was able to chip away at Madigan’s majority by picking up four seats in the House in 2016, he’s had trouble keeping Republicans united. Divisions that first appeared over the budget deepened when Rauner signed legislation to expand taxpayer-funded abortion despite previously pledging to veto the bill.

That angered conservatives, leading some in his own party to label Rauner a “failed” governor. Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Republican from Wheaton, is pursuing a primary challenge.

Rauner shrugged off the criticism Monday, and said he is leading a movement that transcends political party.

“What we’ve got to do is united around what we can agree on,” Rauner said. “That’s how we’ll get it done. Us coming together. This is a movement. This is really not about Democrats against Republicans. This is about the people of Illinois pushing back against a broken system.”

By Monique Garcia

Contact Reporter

Chicago Tribune


Twitter @moniquegarcia

Article Photo: Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at the Governor’s Day rally at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield on Aug. 16, 2017. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

State lawmakers, inflatable rats call attention to Schaumburg union protest

Illinois state senators Laura Murphy and Cristina Castro probably thought they’d accidentally driven onto the set of a monster movie Friday.

There, in front of Lifetime Fitness on Higgins Road in Schaumburg, they spotted not one, but several menacing giant rats looming over small groups of people.

It wasn’t a movie, but a labor protest using those inflatable rodents with prominent white teeth and sharp claws.

“We are protesting Lifetime Fitness because in Northbrook, they’re constructing a facility that’s being built by 90 percent nonunion workers,” said Leo Esparza of Chicago, a manager for Laborers Local One. “We want to turn things around and supply local jobs for local people.”

Esparza said the company imported workers from Iowa and Tennessee to pay less in wages and benefits.

Calls to Schaumburg’s Lifetime Fitness center were not returned.

Democrats Murphy, of Des Plaines, and Castro, of Elgin, spoke with Local One members.

“We were driving along and saw our friends from labor,” Murphy said, “so we stopped by to show our support.

These jobs should stay here because that way these folks provide for our local economy and they will spend their money in our local economy instead of spending their money in another state.”

Laborers Local One also had protesters at the Lifetime Fitness Northbrook site, Esparza said.


Article by: 

Daily Herald

Article Photo: Members of Laborers Local One union protest in front of Lifetime Fitness, 900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg.

House can’t work up override of Rauner’s veto of ‘right-to-work’ bill


SPRINGFIELD —  Calling it “a victory for the people,” Gov. Bruce Rauner notched another win Tuesday in his battle against organized labor, as the Illinois House failed in its second attempt to override his veto of a bill that would prohibit local municipalities to side step unions by enacting “right-to-work” zones.

The House vote was 70 to 39, one short of the 71 needed to override the governor’s veto. It was a virtual mirror of the House’s attempt two weeks ago, when the override failed by a 70-42 vote.

In an effort to win GOP votes, Democrats introduced a separate bill to remove a controversial portion of the measure that provided a criminal penalty to local governments that enact right-to-work.  That “trailer bill” passed the House Tuesday, 73 to 38.

And despite the second override of the right-to-work bill, the Illinois Senate plans to also vote on that trailer bill to get Rauner on record with another veto.

But it wasn’t enough to win over Republicans for the override, which had already passed the state Senate by a 42-13 vote.  The House can only attempt to override a bill twice, so Tuesday’s failed effort was Democrats’ final chance.

A key point in Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda,” right-to-work essentially allows people to work in union jobs without paying union dues. Rauner has argued that without it, local municipalities are denied flexibility, resulting in fewer jobs, slower economic growth and higher taxes.

The measure that failed Tuesday would have prohibited local units of government from instituting “right-to-work” ordinances. The bill was pushed after the village of Lincolnshire in 2015 enacted such an ordinance, which unions challenged in court. A federal district court agreed with the unions that local right-to-work ordinances are pre-empted by the National Labor Relations Act, which allows states to pass right-to-work laws but doesn’t allow local units of government to do so.

“In a victory for the people, the House of Representatives today kept the door open to stronger job growth in Illinois,” Rauner said in a statement Tuesday.

“Courageous House lawmakers joined together to make Illinois more competitive so local communities can continue to decide how to make their economies stronger, help their businesses grow and give individual workers the freedom to support a union as they choose.

“Thanks to their action, Illinois is better positioned to be a national and global competitor.

“Now we need to buckle down and continue the work of creating economic opportunity for all of the people of Illinois.”

BUSINESS 11/08/2017, 09:43am


Article Photo: The video in which Gov. Bruce Rauner officially announces his re-election bid includes footage of the leather-clad Republican riding his Harley Davidson through Illinois. | Screenshot

Column: Whoops! Pro-Rauner ad omits Minnesota and its successes

“Seen these Midwestern governors?” asks a political commercial posted online earlier this week.

On screen are images of Republican governors Eric Holcomb of Indiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Eric Greitens of Missouri along with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

And yes, of course we have seen them. Ad nauseam. In a 30-second TV spot from Citizens for Rauner that’s been saturating the airwaves, Holcomb, Walker and Greitens sardonically thank Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for blocking Rauner’s agenda — thereby, they say, boosting their state’s economies.

“One governor’s missing,” says the response ad from Illinois Working Together, a pro-union coalition partial to Democrats. “Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota.”

Well, more than one governor, technically, depending on how you define the Midwest. But yes, the absence of Dayton, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and progressive icon, is conspicuous and illustrative.

His is a story that Republicans don’t like to tell.

He inherited a $6.2 billion two-year budget deficit and a 6.9 percent unemployment rate in 2011 when he succeeded Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. In his first term he was able to pass upwards of $2 billion in new taxes, more than half of which targeted the top 1 percent of earners.

Dayton also advanced a nearly half-billion-dollar jobs bill, increased the minimum wage and indexed it to inflation, expanded all-day kindergarten and increased funding for both early childhood and higher education.

Republicans predicted an exodus of jobs and business.

Instead, Minnesota has thrived compared to Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois. It’s added 34,200 private-sector jobs since January, more than twice the number of any of the other four states despite being the smallest by population. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the group — 3.7 percent, according to the most recent state-by-state economic snapshot issued by the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress; the highest median household income — $70,200; and a balanced budget with over $1.5 billion in reservesaccording to Dayton’s office.

The 43-second union-backed ad mentions these successes, but doesn’t mention that, in this group of states, Minnesota has the best recent wage growth, the highest gross domestic product in the past year and the lowest percentage of people living in poverty or without health insurance.

CNBC recently ranked Minnesota third in its Top States for Business study — Indiana was 14th, Wisconsin 21st, Missouri 22nd and Illinois 31st — and USA Today placed it second in its ranking of best-run states.

Dayton’s job-approval rating is at 52 percent, according to Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings, which were released Tuesday. On that list he’s ahead of Rauner (30 percent), Walker (44 percent) and Greitens (49 percent), and just behind Holcomb (53 percent).

Yes, rankings are subjective, the public is fickle and economies can rise and fall independent of the tweaks of elected officials.

Most of Minnesota’s successes have been concentrated in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, according to University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs, leaving the more rural parts of the state resentful. Dayton’s party “is losing its working-class strongholds, which we saw when Donald Trump came within a point and a half of winning the state last year.”

The Illinois Working Together ad “doesn’t tell the whole story,” said veteran political reporter Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV Minneapolis when I asked for his review.

Dayton, who is not running for re-election, “has been at an impasse with Republicans since he lost his legislative majorities in 2014,” Kessler said. “He really hasn’t gotten anything done in three years.”

History will recall the Dayton years as “a qualified experiment in classic liberal economic social-welfare policies,” according to David Schultz, a political scientist at Hamline University in St. Paul. That experiment “not only did not hurt the state but it improved Minnesota in many ways,” he wrote in an email. The result “offers strong support for … pursuing the type of liberal agenda that many Democrats seem to want to walk away from.”

The conclusion to the new ad puts this thought more succinctly: “Remember,” say the words on the screen, “we don’t have to join the race to the bottom to move Illinois to the top.”

By: Eric Zorn

Contact Reporter

Change of Subject


Twitter @EricZorn

Spotlight: Right-to-work has no place in Illinois

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.36.00 AM . Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.37.25 AM.png

This past week, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly sought to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act. This legislation aims to keep Illinois jobs in the hands of Illinois workers and contractors.

As the governor continues to pursue his anti-union agenda, he has taken his fight to Washington and the federal court system. Just last week, the governor made it clear he wanted Trump and the Republicans in Congress to give states the authority to diminish pensions, effectively asking the federal government to void a portion of our state’s Constitution.

Additionally, he has attempted to use a village of 7,000 people in the Chicago suburbs to change the labor laws of our state of nearly 13 million. The village of Lincolnshire adopted a local right-to-work ordinance. This was challenged in federal court, where Judge Michael Kennelly ruled that the National Labor Relations Act applied only to states and territories, not individual municipalities.

During this lawsuit, the village was represented by the Liberty Justice Center, the legal arm of a right-wing think tank, the Illinois Policy Institute, a group based in Chicago that has received money from Rauner in the past. The group is representing the village pro bono.

This ruling is being appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago because of what the village believes is an inconsistent ruling. This is because the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Kentucky cities can enact right-to-work ordinances.

That is why the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act is so important. Under the act, regardless of what the federal courts rule, the right to establish right-to-work zones would be reserved solely for the state, guaranteeing a uniform set of rules from Chicago to Cairo.

Our labor laws should be consistent throughout the state to avoid a confusing patchwork of regulations that varies from city to city. This legislation keeps that consistency and helps workers and contractors by preventing out-of-state contractors from taking Illinois jobs and sending the money across state lines.

The legislation was not without controversy, however. Some were uneasy with the criminal penalties included in the legislation. We both felt that while those penalties were not ideal, they were the will of the sponsor, and it sought to accomplish the goal of stopping right-to-work from sneaking into Illinois. It is our hope that changes are made to the legislation that will bring even greater bipartisan support for Illinois workers and contractors.

David Koehler represents the 46th District in the Illinois Senate and Jehan Gordon-Booth represents the 92nd District in the Illinois House. Both live in Peoria.

Peoria Journal Star
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