* Greg Hinz looks at organized labor’s failures…
Unions kicked off the season by impotently watching as dozens of their Springfield allies abandoned ship and voted for a tough pension reform law that now needs only the final approval of the Illinois Supreme Court. More recently, they’ve spent nearly $4 million on what (unless all the polls are wrong) was a failed bid to prevent the virulently anti-labor Bruce Rauner from becoming the GOP nominee for governor. And when lawmakers return to Springfield after the March 18 elections, item one on the agenda is more pension cuts, this time for city and Chicago Public Schools workers.
“It’s really awful what’s happened,” concedes one top labor honcho, speaking privately. “I just don’t know right now if this movement has the capacity to build the next movement.”
I don’t know either. But even if it knocks off a couple of unfriendly lawmakers on March 18, Illinois’ labor movement risks becoming a chapter in the history books—right next to the one on Jimmy Hoffa. The question is: What should the movement do?
Part of the solution, I suspect, is putting someone in charge of the notoriously fractious labor “movement.” Someone who can act decisively.
That’s what was wrong with the multimillion-dollar TV blitz against Mr. Rauner. It started too late with too little, lacked focus and suffered from an identity crisis over whether to concentrate on taking out Mr. Rauner or electing someone else. The labor chiefs never quite figured out the answers. So, in consensus fashion, they did a little of this and a little of that—ineffectively. And now there’s less money available for November.
I wrote a long addendum to Greg’s piece, and then decided to save it for subscribers. So… discuss among yourselves.