* As I told subscribers last Thursday afternoon, the governor has managed to revive a bill to strip thousands of state workers of their union cards…
Nearly 2,000 state employees could be ejected from unions representing them and another 1,700 would be prevented from joining collective bargaining units under a bill that could be called in the Illinois Senate next week.
Tensions between Gov. Pat Quinn and his traditional labor allies have flared up over the legislation. The administration said it needs fewer employees in unions so it can effectively manage state government, but union officials say the bill is an attack on unions.
Senate Bill 1556, which passed the House 62-52 in the wee hours of the legislative session on May 31, will need a supermajority of 36 votes to clear the Senate and head to Quinn’s desk. Legislation considered by a chamber after May 31 needs the support of three-fifths of lawmakers in order to become law immediately.
The Senate is returning on Wednesday to consider a construction spending bill. A spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the union measure will be discussed by Senate Democrats next week.
* AFSCME is not amused…
The Quinn Administration is alleging that these employees are not committed to their jobs, simply because they belong to a union. This is an insult to every union member in the state of Illinois who gets up every day, goes to work, and gives their very best to the jobs that they do.
Without a shred of evidence, Quinn’s lobbyists are spreading the lie that employees in certain higher level titles cannot be counted on to perform their jobs with diligence and integrity now that they are part of the union. […]
If SB 1556 passes, thousands of state employees could be stripped of union representation. Call your senator today to urge him or her to oppose this assault on basic collective bargaining rights.
Hundreds of thousands of public employees to our north in Wisconsin have had their bargaining rights stripped from them by their Governor. Let’s not let Governor Quinn and his legislative allies get away with it here in Illinois.
The bill has little support among Senate Democrats, however.
…Adding… I forgot to mention that the legislation will now require a three-fifths majority to pass. Unless something drastically changes in the Senate Democratic caucus, that ain’t gonna happen. So, Quinn will get his vote and the unions will likely win.
* The media pretty much ignored the House’s passage of the bill in late May, but as subscribers already know, the Illinois AFL-CIO released a statement shortly after the session ended which was not at all complimentary of the governor...
Governor Quinn has recently taken a more active leadership role in the National Democratic Governors’ Association, particularly in fundraising efforts. He has, as recently as April 2011, chided Republican Governors for stripping public employees’ collective bargaining rights around the country. Behind the scenes, national labor leaders, including National AFL-CIO President Trumka, called Governor Quinn to request further negotiations on this issue. Quinn continued to pursue SB 1556 despite the calls. It remains unclear whether Governor Quinn will be an effective fundraiser for the Democratic Governors’ Association following his pursuit of this anti-worker legislation
Richard Trumka doesn’t make calls to governors on bills he doesn’t care about. That statement was definitely a shot across Quinn’s bow, but he has ignored it. The DGA may pay the price.
* Meanwhile, there are other items on the agenda for this Wednesday’s session…
Senators are expected to approve pay cuts for lawmakers that include forgoing a yearly cost-of-living increase and requiring them to take 12 unpaid days off in the next 12 months. It’s a continuation of a cost-cutting move they put in place last year and would result in a nearly 5 percent pay reduction for lawmakers. Starting salary for legislators is $67,000. The furlough days alone will save taxpayers about $565,000. […]
The Senate also is expected to act on a handful of recent Quinn appointments, including naming former Chicago mayoral candidate Gery Chico to head the Illinois State Board of Education.
Otherwise, lawmakers will consider a number of minor issues, including language to clean up drafting errors in a bill that allows the state to borrow millions of dollars in order to capture an increased payment match from the federal government. In all, it’s expected lawmakers will be in town for just 24 hours.
“I don’t expect any fireworks,” said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago.
There actually may be some fireworks. Democrats expect that Jay Rowell’s nomination to run the Illinois Department of Employment Security will be loudly opposed by the Senate Republicans. Rowell ran the Senate Democrats’ campaigns last year.