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Three Republicans defend public employee unions

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014

* From June of last year

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, speaking in Springfield Wednesday, said that even pro-union Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt thought government unions “shouldn’t exist” and are “immoral.”

Actually, FDR didn’t say that. Read what he did say by clicking here.

* He also said this last year

“I think we can drive a wedge issue in the Democratic Party on that topic — that real folks will say, ‘You know what? For our tax dollars, I’d rather help the disadvantaged, the handicapped, the elderly, the children in poverty. I’d rather have my tax dollars going to that than the SEIU or “AF-Scammy” who are out there for their own interests,’” Rauner said, referring to two of the state’s most influential labor organizations — the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

* Rauner was asked about that stuff during last night’s debate

“I’m not against the existence of government unions but workers should be free to choose whether to be in a government union or not,” said Rauner, a venture capitalist from Winnetka.

Still, he maintained there were big differences between public employee unions and private-sector unions.

“When a government union boss has power with taxpayer funded union dues to influence politicians through campaign cash, campaign workers that are free but actually paid by government taxpayers inside the government, it’s a conflict of interest and it’s a corrupting influence. And the result of it is spending goes up, taxes go up and businesses leave our state,” Rauner said.

Watch the video here.

* The react from the other candidates

Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale said, “I don’t think unions are inherently bad” while acknowledging that Illinois government has become “incredibly unionized” in recent years. While Rod Blagojevich was governor, thousands of workers in management positions flocked to join unions after going years without pay raises.

Dillard said the way to win concessions from public employee unions is to “meet with them, talk with them, not demonize them.”

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said there are supervisory positions in government that need to be exempt from union membership, and the right balance has yet to be achieved.

“To say union bosses are immoral is inappropriate,” he said.

Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington also said a better balance needs to be struck among jobs that should not be part of a union because they are supervisory. However, he blamed the drive to join unions on Gov. Pat Quinn making promises to workers that he failed to deliver.

* More from Brady, who said public worker unions are “not immoral”

“Unions,” he said, “serve their constituency, the people that they represent. And certainly public and private sector unions have done a lot to assist in enhancing the quality of life of the members they provide for. They also provide for a skilled workforce.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


36 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    Jim Thompson
    Jim Edgar
    George Ryan
    … Even Peter Fitzgerald …
    Judy Baar Topinka

    Republicans understanding Unions and the idea that people are people, politics requires coalitions, and understanding dynamics of Unions and Republicans make for a winning cake.

    Understand.

    “Bruce Rauner” and Bruce Rauner are Raunerites. Period.

    Rauner has endorsement of politicians, but politicians are bad? Unions are bad, but Union Workers aren’t, as Rauner decries the Union’s Constitutionality.

    Rauner is a Raunerite.

    Know it.


  2. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    But FDR did hit the problematic nature of public unions on the head: “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management…The employer is the whole people…”

    The government should be bargaining to get the best balance of worker quality and salary it can win. Yet in our political system, the “government” bargainer is hindered in the negotiation whenever his or her *personal* livelihood is dependent on the person on the other side of the bargaining table. The unions are serving their constituency but the politicians have a divided loyalty. (You could argue the unions have a similar divided loyalty in that they don’t want to bankrupt the state/governments they work for, but that’s a very remote “tragedy of the commons” situation that will not show itself at the bargaining table until, well, the state is in utter financial crisis - and at that point it’s often too late).


  3. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    Rauner made money from pension fund investments? So when a finance boss has power with taxpayer funded fees to run for governor through campaign cash, campaign workers actually paid by government taxpayers inside the government, it’s a conflict of interest and it’s a corrupting influence. And the result of it is spending goes up, taxes go up and businesses leave our state.


  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    “Immoral?” Wow.

    This from a pay-to-player who used money skimmed from public employee pension funds to buy politicians.

    The hypocrisy is breathtaking.


  5. - YO - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    So, to paraphrase Rauner, unions take taxpayer money and use it to drive “up” costs in public positions….I have to take that as public salaries, overpaid employees? Is that why, if public employees take their skills to the private sector many can practically double their income? Who buys this stuff anyway?


  6. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    I’m having a real problem listening to a billionaire tell us that our problem is that everyone else earns too much money.


  7. - Joe M - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    Just because someone is a public employee, they should not have to give up the same rights workers in the private sector have.


  8. - spidad60 - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    I guess I have trouble with the phrase ‘taxpayer funded Union dues’. The dues I pay come out of my government salary. If that’s an issue, then what’s next? Restrictions on donations to my church, or charities of my choice? What about other things I spend (my) salary on?


  9. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    Good, one does not have to be Pavlovian in their hatred of unions. Uninons aren’t all bad (or good) and corporations are not all bad (or good) either.


  10. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Check out Bill Brady:

    “Unions,” he said, “serve their constituency, the people that they represent. And certainly public and private sector unions have done a lot to assist in enhancing the quality of life of the members they provide for. They also provide for a skilled workforce.”

    Well done, sir.


  11. - Roadiepig - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    As someone who started my working years with a few old timers (who stuck around after the Teamsters union was allowed to bargain and defend IDOT employees) over 30 years ago, I can’t believe that people like Rauner truly want to go back to “the good ol’ days” of the past. Prior to the unions, nobody worked as a maintainer as a career. All of them were purely political appointments. That made them totally beholden to the party in power. When the governorship switched parties everyone was replaced by a new patronage army. These employees were almost all much older than the present workforce. They told us tales of arriving to work around starting time ( nobody really disciplined them), and most mornings were spent drinking coffee at restaurants until lunch. That was then, but people like the Baron want you to think that is what union employees are today. I can assure you they are not. I myself hope we never go back to those good ol’ days, but decertify and eliminate all state unions and the low quality patronage army of the past is assuredly what the citizens will receive.


  12. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Given Rauner’s logic and the millions he has made off public pension systems, his entire campaign is “taxpayer funded.”


  13. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    The Raunner hate here is pretty funny, (especially the Mike Madigan fan using “hypocrisy” and “breathtaking” in connection to Raunner and morality). How about a serious discussion instead? For example, in Wisconsin the teachers lost their right to collectively bargain. What happened as a result? Wisconsin had been ranked 18th in the nation in terms of education in 2012 - did they drop? Go up? Did teacher salaries rise/fall more than the average in the private sector? Were the trade-offs worth it in terms of Wisconsin’s finances and ability to grow private sector jobs?

    Another serious question: shouldn’t the voters get a choice on this issue? Yes, there are many important issues in the governor’s race, but state finances and the pension crises state and local are at the top. If Brady/Dillard aren’t going to offer a clear distinction, why not give the voters a choice? Because Raunner didn’t cut his nose off to spite his face as a business person? Because Brady and Dillard’s ethics are better - part of the same anti-reform cabal that opposed Peter Fitzgerald?


  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    Illinois is not Wisconsin.

    Please learn.

    The Illinois Constitution and the General Assemblies of both states do no mirror at all.

    If you can’t understand that simple set of “givens”, then the rest is just talking points based on wishes and lack facts.


  15. - Marie - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    I would love to be in the union - it is now 12 years without a raise - union folks make more $ - never thought this state could be this unfair - I would be making a great deal more if I had left and gone private or to the feds


  16. - KurtInSpringfield - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    “I’m not against the existence of government unions but workers should be free to choose whether to be in a government union or not,” said Rauner, a venture capitalist from Winnetka.

    I would be fine with giving workers a choice between paying dues or not. If they don’t pay any dues at all, they should not benefit from the work of the union. In other words, they should not be covered by the contract negotiated by the union; no grievance or union representation rights; no guaranteed salaries or negotiated salary increases. What would happen then? Oh wait, we already tried that. Consider all the merit comp employees that joined the union within the last 10 years or so when given the chance.


  17. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    OW - I think it has a big effect on how pols negotiate with unions, even if decertification isn’t in the cards. Weren’t John Cullerton’s remarks to the CTU effectively saying that? Consider: Ronald Reagan got a pretty radical agenda through a Dem-controlled Congress because he had a mandate. At some level facts have a persuasive authority. (PS - I’m not endorsing Walker’s record or calling for decertification of public union, I’m calling for a more talk about their impact on citizens pro and con).


  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    - lake county democrat -,

    Constitutionality.

    If all this were easy in Illinois, it would have been done, and further, fighting both the Constitution and the Democratically controlled chamberS (with an ’s’), makes this more about legally working within the Illinois Constitution and union guarantees with a Democratic controlled GA, and not about the optics of a political non-starting solution that Wisconsin or Indiana did not have to overcome.

    With respect.


  19. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    OW - You may need to spoonfeed my brain here: what in the Illinois Constitution prevents a Governor or other government official from taking a draconian position in negotiations? Yes, there is the pension guarantee - and I’ve frequently stated here that if there’s any respect for objective law at the Illinois Supreme Court the current pension reform bill will be struck down because of it - but how does it foreclose salary freezes or cuts or reduction in positions in future contract negotiations? How would it prevent a Governor from insisting that any aid to Chicago’s pension crisis be contingent on certain hard lines in negotiations if there were no union givebacks on pensions? Yes, if in the next election a *veto proof* majority remains in both parties AND both parties remain in lockstep with the leadership this would be illusory, but I don’t think the Democrats grip on the GA is a foregone conclusion, especially in an election year with no presidential race at the top of the ballot and what appears to be a lopsided senate race.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    - lake county democrat -,

    Again, with respect;

    === Yes, there is the pension guarantee - and I’ve frequently stated here that if there’s any respect for objective law at the Illinois Supreme Court the current pension reform bill will be struck down because of it - but how does it foreclose salary freezes or cuts or reduction in positions in future contract negotiations? ===

    It’s the monies as to those already in the system, and if those guarantees are in fact guaranteed, negotiating against a guarantee defeats the idea of having leverage in the future because of what may be decided as untouchable.

    ===How would it prevent a Governor from insisting that any aid to Chicago’s pension crisis be contingent on certain hard lines in negotiations if there were no union givebacks on pensions? ===

    What leverage? You were paying attention when this last bill was signed, so if it becomes unconstitutional, and the leverage of what is already figured in to what is owed over the new, where is that “upper hand”? The ruling makes everything start over, if the law is unconstitutional.

    === Yes, if in the next election a *veto proof* majority remains in both parties AND both parties remain in lockstep with the leadership this would be illusory, …===

    And…

    ===…but I don’t think the Democrats grip on the GA is a foregone conclusion, especially in an election year with no presidential race at the top of the ballot and what appears to be a lopsided senate race.===

    The Illinois Senate is not, repeat, not going to flip, and the Illinois House will not see a GOP majority for at least 2 cycles, given the matchups this November shaping up, and the fact Leader Durkin will be 4 years away in building and pruning a real wining Crew.

    === … this would be illusory.===

    It is. It already is, thus my responses, and the Wisconsin and Indiana comparisons included make it all Folly.


  21. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===…but I don’t think the Democrats grip on the GA is a foregone conclusion, especially in an election year with no presidential race at the top of the ballot and what appears to be a lopsided senate race.===

    Are you talking about this year? If so, I assure you, the Dem grip on the GA is a foregone conclusion. The GOP is playing defense.

    And how would a Durbin/Oberweis matchup help the GOP gain GA seats?


  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    ===And how would a Durbin/Oberweis matchup help the GOP gain GA seats?===

    Democratic gains.

    Slytherin Oberweis is the saving grace to the ILDems.

    Intolerant, elitist, wife a Florida resident, “wintering” to avoid state taxes, an unable to vote go the leader of pitchforks and torches against SSM and the removal of a party leader…

    Democratic gains more than possible with Oberweis, even more likely with Oberweis/Rauner at the 1-2 slots.


  23. - Mittuns - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    The question in this election cycle is will the GOP peel off enough seats to break the super majorities.

    Also, I have to admit that Brady has struck a far more pragmatic, reasonable tone this time around. If he had done this in 2010, things might have been different.


  24. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    –The question in this election cycle is will the GOP peel off enough seats to break the super majorities.–

    Take another look. In the House, the battle is to hold on to what they have.


  25. - railrat - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    I apologize for not being as astute as the vast majority donating to this esteemed post. But just a question; Venture Capitalist, defined ? ven-ture cap-i-tal (n) money for high risk investment; money used for investment in enterprises that involve high risk, but for the possibility of large profits….why doesn’t that definition also describe the “union bosses”? while the working stiff pays dues and “prays” the “bosses” care for their families don’t those “bosses” profit?? don’t see the head of CFL or ILL AFL-CIO or those “nasty public sector” union “bosses” having a “tag day” maybe some one will have the time to investigate those “venture capitalist” and they’re gains and profits?


  26. - Anon - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    “These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland … They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.”
    –Ronald Reagan, Labor Day Address at Liberty State Park, 1980


  27. - Pensioner - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 5:01 pm:

    Unions built the middle class. Discussion over.


  28. - Bemused - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 5:03 pm:

    As Spidad60 said at 11:24 this “Taxpayer funded Union Dues” talk needs to stop. Just because it is deducted from an employees check before they receive it does not mean it still belongs to the “Taxpayer”. By that reasoning if an employee allows the State to do direct deposit to save the “Taxpayer” money then that is a taxpayer funded bank. What these guys had to say about organized labor last night are the same old canned peas. Brady almost made me choke. I would lay a buck down right now at 100 to 1, if a “Right to Work” bill were laid in front of him he couldn’t sign it fast enough. There is a reason he is endorsed by the ABC group. Between this bunch and PQ it’s a hold my nose and vote type of year.


  29. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 5:09 pm:

    Lake County Democrat, you are a bigger phony than Rauner.

    Seriously, you want to take away collective bargaining rights? What’s your problem, man? You live in the United States. Learn our history.

    What totalitarian model are you working on?

    Thanks for playing, though. Very revealing as to the Rauner campaign’s contempt for the people.

    And if you want to sing “Forward Wisconsin,” I’m sure you’re down with that progressive income tax they have.

    But I doubt that Farmer Bruce wants to pay 7.65%.

    http://www.revenue.wi.gov/faqs/pcs/taxrates.html#tx1b


  30. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 5:56 pm:

    –“These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland … They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.”
    –Ronald Reagan, Labor Day Address at Liberty State Park, 1980–

    Well done, Anon.

    “Reagan” and “conservative” are the most abused words in the political discourse by the Dixie right-wing whack-a-doos that Rauner is trying to bring to Illinois.

    Reagan fired the PATCO workers because of their wildcat strike. That’s what FDR was talking about regarding “militant” tactics — no strikes by essential, unionized public employees. But collective bargaining is cool.

    It’s inconceivable that Reagan or FDR would ever call public employee unions “immoral.” Good Lord, that word has meaning. “Immoral?” What’s your problem, man? Is that what you wanted to say?

    Reagan voted for FDR four times. He was proud of that, He talked about it until the light went out from the Alzheimner’s. FDR was his model. One hell of a model, and one hell of a student.


  31. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 6:14 pm:

    Good for br’s 3 Opponents. br has just gone too far in bashing Unions in this Campaign, and, especially in time, he will pay for it dearly…! His Opponents are wise-enough to understand that reality, unlike br.


  32. - Sweet Dreams - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 7:36 pm:

    Rauner is right unions are collectively bilking tax payers. I disagree with the immoral comment but he still has my vote.


  33. - Soccertease - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 8:34 pm:

    I lived the Blago “everybody goes into the union” era. Even employees who made managerial decisions, disciplined employees and had access to confidential information were automatically placed in the union. This is reversing (good thing) but this abuse under Blago did a lot of damage. It doesn’t need to be all or none. If IL can ever get back to a reasonable balance of union/non-union, IL government would function much better.


  34. - Jorge - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 9:08 pm:

    “Rauner is right unions are collectively bilking tax payers. I disagree with the immoral comment but he still has my vote.”

    So is Rauner correct in bilking millions from taxpayers? I think not. If you want to vote for a walking contradiction be my guest. I sure as heck won’t.


  35. - Filmmaker Professor - Wednesday, Feb 19, 14 @ 10:44 pm:

    Brady knows one thing that Rauner doesn’t: that here in Downstate Illinois (where, apparently, Rauner has one of his several vacation homes, where he hangs his Carhart so it’s ready for commercial shoots) there are many, many Republican union members.


  36. - Ziad Abdelnour - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 6:13 am:

    nice,

    “Trust is earned, respect is given, and loyalty is demonstrated. Betrayal of any one of those is to lose all three.”

    Thank you


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* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




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