* AFSCME International President Lee Saunders lit into Gov. Pat Quinn today during a speech to the AFSCME legislative conference in DC…
I am sick and tired of the fair-weather Democrats. They date us, take us to the prom, marry us, and then divorce us right after the honeymoon. I am sick and tired of the so-called friends who commend us when they’re running for election, but condemn us after they’ve won. I am sick and tired of the politicians who stand with us behind closed doors, but kick us to the curb in front of the cameras. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit and we’re not gonna take it anymore.
Many of you know some of the people I’m talking about. Mayor Michael Nutter in Philadelphia. Governor Pat Quinn in Illinois. We’ve come to expect union-busting, anti-worker tactics from ultra-conservatives like Scott Walker and John Kasich. But now, everybody’s on the bandwagon.
Look at Nutter. AFSCME members in Philadelphia haven’t had a contract in four years, and Sister Baylor knows it. What does the mayor do? He goes to the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Supreme Court to get a legal decision that would let him shove his contract down our throats. He’s no different from Governor Snyder in Michigan, who went to his state’s Supreme Court to get legal cover for cutting school employees’ pay. Different political parties, same political games.
Look at Governor Quinn. He has waged a relentless war on state employees – slashing pensions, driving down incomes and wiping out jobs. Last year he took the unprecedented step of terminating our contract. He is the first and only Illinois governor, Republican or Democrat, to take such a blatantly aggressive action.
I have had enough of these turncoats, and it’s time to make them pay.
…Adding… From the governor’s office…
“Bellicose rhetoric is not going to address Illinois’ financial challenges,” Anderson added in an emailed statement. “The governor respects the collective bargaining process and the right to organize. He’s been a lifelong ally of the labor community, leading the state’s largest capital construction program in history to put thousands of workers back on the job. He has long championed increasing the minimum wage and protecting workers’ rights.
“Governor Quinn inherited massive financial challenges from decades of mismanagement by previous governors and legislatures. He did not create these challenges, but he is committed to addressing them,” the statement read. “In these difficult economic times, trade unions have made concessions. Auto unions have made concessions. And the union of government employees will have to understand the importance of making concessions to acknowledge the fact that the current path of credit downgrades and debt is unsustainable.”