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This just in… Topinka gets AFSCME endorsement

Saturday, Jan 21, 2006

I missed Henry Bayer’s call earlier. Then I found out why he phoned.

Illinois’s largest state employee union endorsed Judy Baar Topinka in the Republican primary for governor Saturday, but made no endorsement in the Democratic primary, signaling the union’s disappointment in Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In 2002, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 100,000 active and retired state workers, endorsed Blagojevich in both the primary and general elections.

“There’s no question many of our members all across the state have been extremely disappointed in this administration,” said union spokesman Anders Lindall. “He’s allowed important state services to deteriorate due to lack of funding and lack of appropriate staffing. He’s failed to reform our states’ broken tax system.”

UPDATE: From the press release:

Among other notable endorsements, the union backed Paul Mangieri in the Democratic primary for treasurer and Democrat Tammy Duckworth for U.S. House of Representatives from the 6th District in Chicago’s western suburbs.

UPDATE: The State Journal-Register has more.

And OneMan makes a good point.

I think this might actually help Blagojevich in the general election. He can show that he is in fact no friend of government and government employees and he is being careful with state funds. He can rail against bureaucrats and the like and talk about how he has shrunk government.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oracle at Delphi - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 4:49 am:

    “He can rail against bureaucrats and the like and talk about how he has shrunk government”

    And the opposition can counter with talk of the prison staffing problems - cutting law enforcement is not what people have in mind when they talk about ’smaller government’.

  2. - DOWNSTATE - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 6:08 am:

    Has everyone forgot the state of the state speech he made where he made state employees the bad guy just like he has Washington in this one?He blamed us for the state budget woes and then laid-off our fellow union members and raided our pensions basicaly trying to balance the state budget on our backs.WE HAVE NOT FORGOT.He could hire in prisons and mental health and recall those that were laid off in IDNR,that a funding bill was signed for and he used the money to hire his people,but we would feel that would only be till the election is over and he would hit us again.See Schoffield and Blago you reap what you sow.You sowed mistrust and dislike and now we don’t trust you , we don’t like you and we sure as hell are not going to vote for you.He has never understood that with our friends and family we are a large voting block and we did not like getting threw under the bus.

  3. - Ex-Newfie - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 6:17 am:

    Despite the grammatical errors from Downstate, I agree with him. State employees were all lumped together in the Guv’s diatribe against government workers. Didn’t matter if you were hired 25 years ago or last week. Didn’t matter if you were doing your job properly or not, all were no better than pond scum.

    Well pond scum has a long memory. I think he’s cooked his goose with state employees and not just the union rank and file.

  4. - Bill - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 6:18 am:

    Henry and the boys just cut their own collective throat. After the primary there won’t be any room on the bandwagon when they sheepishly try to jump on.
    They got the best public employee contract in the country and are just never satisfied. Pigs get fed but hogs got slaughtered.

  5. - Tessa - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 6:53 am:

    For the record, “they” didn’t just get the best contract in the country - it was a long, hard fight. You had to be there to know. Then he wanted us to work in a two-tier system. Did you see what the effects of that are in Cat now? I don’t want that.

    Henry and “the boys” won’t be jumping on any bandwagon come September. Mind you, there are a whole lot of women fighting side by side with them men and we aren’t going to be quiet and we sure aren’t going to be with Rod, now or come September.

    Going to be an interesting year. Some of us are just going to play our cards very close this time around, and they aren’t for Rod or the boys (or Judy probably) from the Republican side.

    Not going to be a pretty year.

  6. - Cassandra - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 7:09 am:

    Clearly, the beginning of a new set of AFSCME negotations with each party. Taxpayers should (again) hang onto their wallets.

    AFSCME, after caving big time to the pension grab last year, needs to show its membership that it is doing something for it dues. And they need more dues too; smaller, more efficient, more
    credentialed government, the government we need,
    generates less not more dues money for the lavishly funded AFSCME. Ever been to their offices? Not exactly threadbare.

    And whatever they did to pressure the governor last year resulted in that lavish contract, so it makes sense to try and terrorize the Blago administration into recommending a tax increase
    so AFSCME can demand more goodies for its members, on top of free pensions, almost-free healthcare, lifetime employment regardless of performance and so forth.

    Taxpayers are gonna lose again if it works. And Blago is so spineless, it just might work.

  7. - Shallow Pharnyx - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 7:25 am:

    AFSCME of Illinois DID get a very nice contract at a time when other states were giving very little. However, it was a calculated move on Blago’s part. AFSCME had their people marching and making noise- Blago knew he had alienated state employees and this was his way of appeasing them. You see him do it over and over again. He is trying to make nice with merit comp employees now- they get a raise, just in time for the primary.
    He trashes you and then every once in awhile he throws you a bone, hoping you’ll forget the mistreatment. He does it to southern Illinois on a regular basis.

  8. - DOWNSTATE - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 7:30 am:

    You people keep talking about this good contract most of our raises were taken for pension benefits if we got 4% then 3% was given back to go to the pension.Try getting a raise and not taking it home.I did not like it and you would not like it either.As far as a big tax increase it not the state employees that will do it.It is all the borrowing he is doing to look good and get re-elected.This guy has done more short term borrowing than any governor has in the last 20 years.BILLIONS with a BBB.Now he wants to borrow a few BBBillion more.Sorry Ex-Newfie I was on my first cup when I wrote that.

  9. - Reddbyrd - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 7:47 am:

    Let’s hold a banquet for all non check cashers concerned about the “plight” of the state worker, especially those with the keys to the cells. I think one folding table — probably card size — will be enough.

    Bet the workforce will fire up the blogosphere today. Hey CaptFax think this one will be triple digits?

  10. - Tertius - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 7:56 am:

    Cassandra wrote:

    “…smaller, more efficient, more credentialed government, the government we need…”

    All I can say in response is, pass me whatever it is you’re smoking, ’cause it must be pretty good stuff!

    Unless, of course, your definition of “…smaller, more efficient, more credentialed government…” includes run-away patronage which has placed incompetent cronies in positions where they can destroy key state programs.

    But perhaps you’re in the Norquist crew - though instead of ’shrinking gov’t’ to the size where it can be drowned in the bathtub, Blago has filled the state gov’t with people too stupid to swim.

    [Guess it doesn’t matter, as long as they are smart enough to sign their name on a nice donation check come campaign season.]

  11. - Tessa - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 8:04 am:

    ARGH! Here we go again. A post about one thing becomes state employee bashing again. I’m glad I get to go to work……

  12. - Cassandra - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 8:43 am:

    Smaller, more efficient, more credentialed government, to me, means drastic changes in both management and union ranks. And no patronage, whether political or, as in the case of many Chicago and Cook offices of state agencies, blatantly racial patronage, which is rampant currently, in an effort to retain the black vote.

    It means employees who meet real standards for the work they do….did you know that DCFS caseworkers who work directly with families and kids aren’t even required to be licensed clinical social workers in Illinois? Nor are their supervisors, managers, or administrators. We’re not getting much skill or education for our bucks.

    It means that people who don’t perform are actually fired. It means that people like Tom Putting, Robin Staggers, and Corey Novick, DCFS senior level administrators don’t get another high paying job when the feds start investigating them. Like the rest of the world, they do the job they were hired for or they get fired. I suppose we’re paying their legal fees too….

    We deserve much better value from our money than we are getting from both management and union state employees right now. And AFSCME, reportedly trying to unionize management too, is doing everything possible to make state government more expensive, less accountable, and
    less skilled.

  13. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 10:10 am:

    The only group lower in voter’s esteem than this governor are state workers. Voters don’t care about their plight. We all feel they are overpaid and underworked and whenever they whine, voters secretly smile.

    While this is a plus for JBT and a negative for Blagojevich, if it gets played up, the reverse will occur. Voters have bought into the concept of smaller efficient government. When state workers whine, then the governor gets credit for doing his job. Facts be damned.

    That is why Blagojevich, Schwarzenegger, and Perry don’t mind playing the bad guy in these election year set ups against state workers. They end up winning every time.

  14. - DOWNSTATE - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 11:58 am:

    Some of you are like Blago and his bunch that you just don’t get it.State employees,gun owners,down state people and other large voting blocks if you keep losing thier support you can’t win an election.He had them last time and he just barely got in.

  15. - B Hicks - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 12:18 pm:

    Jim Ryan 45%, Rod Blagojevich, 52%, that’s a little more than barely. At least in these here parts, downstater.

    It’s like our good friend Reddbyrd said, Henry and Buddy will be jumping on the wagon when the time is right.


  16. - Reality Check - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 12:36 pm:

    VanillaMan wrote” Blagojevich, Schwarzenegger, and Perry don’t mind playing the bad guy in these election year set ups against state workers. They end up winning every time.

    Really? Schwarzenegger won in California last November when he tried to cut the pensions of public employees like nurses, fire fighters, and even survivors benefits for widows of police killed in the line of duty? When he pushed several anti-worker ballot initiatives, Schwarzengger won? Not in this world, but I don’t know what planet Vanilla Man is on. Here on Earth, the people of California closed ranks behind their neighbors who provide public services and gave Ahnuld a drubbing he won’t soon forget.

  17. - Reality Check - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 12:49 pm:

    Also, it really is rich how the pro-Rod crowd keeps saying, “Unions should be happy with a good contract.” That is the embodiment of a cronyism, take-care-of-you mentality.

    Think about it. It’s a GOOD thing that state employees won’t trade their votes for what’s in their contract. The contract is what they have earned for the services they provide.

    It’s obvious, from the comments of Tessa and others here, that what state workers really want is to be able to do their jobs to the best of their ability. They want their communities to have the best public services possible.

    That’s a separate issue from a contract. It takes attention to the right policies, appropriate staffing, sound management and good budgets.

    Cronies can be taken care of with good contracts. We should be glad that state employees have other priorities.

  18. - Deaming of Joe Hill - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 1:02 pm:

    I think it’s obvious Rod is throwing in with that “other” union instead of AFSCME… Divide and conquer, split the unions and pit them against each other so their power cancels out. Throw them a calculated sop when the timing requires a little boost, then trash them again once you get re-elected. It’s like a spousal-abuse relationship.

  19. - Tyler - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 1:57 pm:

    18 comments and no complaining about Duckworth getting the nod over Cegelis? I think we’ve set a record!

  20. - SHAFTED STATE EMPLOYEE - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 5:24 pm:

    OOOO Cassandra….you sound like a State employee that wasn’t lucky enough to be in our Union.. But you do have good State benifits. Go make a appt. with your Doctor and get on some meds. You’ll be fine.

  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 23, 06 @ 9:04 pm:


    You don’t know what you are talking about. DCFS supervisors must have a MSW. You might want to ask the NASW about it. DCFS has a national accredidation. They can’t hold that without supervisors having a MSW. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your anti Rod rant. Get your facts right or don’t comment.

  22. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jan 24, 06 @ 9:36 pm:

    Shafted State Employee: I don’t get any state benefits. But I’m paying for yours and paying a lot, unfortunately.

    Anon 9:04 pm
    Having an MSW alone does not qualify a social worker to practice clinical social work in Illinois, or in most states. In addition to the master’s, licensure requires a post Masters apprenticeship and a fairly difficult test. DCFS supervisors may be required to have an MSW or equivalent, but they are not required to have the clinical license, although they are really doing clinical work. And caseworkers are not required to have either the MSW or the social work license.

    In practical terms, this means that the requirements for being a DCFS caseworker, supervisor, or even manager or administrator are not that demanding. And, given the amount of money that they cost us, we should be paying for the highest possible qualifications.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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