* Last summer, I jokingly told Bruce Rauner that his inauguration would likely be himself and 100,000 of his closest “friends” in organized labor. That didn’t come to pass because the unions decided to wait and see what he would actually do. But when Gov. Rauner took off after unions in Decatur Tuesday, some have decided to speak out today in Champaign…
Representatives of organized labor will be at the I Hotel Conference Center in Champaign today to demonstrate against Gov. Bruce Rauner after his remarks in Decatur Tuesday that were critical of unions.
Rauner is scheduled to speak to the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce at 1 p.m. today, delivering an address that he says is another preview of Wednesday’s State of the State speech to the Legislature. […]
Matt Kelly, president of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council in Champaign County, said he believes that Rauner is “trying to destroy unions. That’s really, we feel, what he’s trying to accomplish by doing this stuff. It has nothing to do with making the state better. It has nothing to do with anything other than destroying the unions.”
Kelly said several unions and trades, particularly public sector unions, will be represented at today’s demonstration.
* And, now, on to the Quad Cities…
“He’s proposing right-to-work, but what it really means is the right to work for less money,” said Dino Leone, President of Quad City Federation of Labor. “What it basically is, is an attack on workers rights to have a stronger voice in the state of Illinois.”
There are conflicting studies about the impact of right-to-work laws.
The Illinois Policy Institute said they analyzed data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that states with right-to-work laws have higher wages, lower unemployment rates, and higher GDP growth.
However, a similar study done by the University of Illinois in 2014 found the laws actually cut wages by three percent on average.
“It would mean a lot less pay for the middle class and working class for people in the Quad Cities,” said Leone. “We will definitely oppose every measure, every piece of legislation [Gov. Rauner] tries to put out on this.”
…Adding… Also from the QC area…
State Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Rock Island, a member of a firefighter union, said he also won’t be joining the governor on the topic.
“The right-to-work legislation has been out there for a long time, and it’s been tried over and over again,” Sen. Anderson said. “I’m against right-to-work. I don’t think it’s right for the state of Illinois.”
* And let’s finish this post with Kurt Erickson’s story…
Gov. Bruce Rauner may be looking to the Bluegrass State for inspiration when it comes to bringing right-to-work laws to Illinois.
In Kentucky, where attempts to put a statewide law on the books have stalled, counties have taken the lead in recent weeks by moving forward with their own anti-union laws.
In all, five counties have approved measures that would ban requiring workers to join a union or making membership in a labor organization a condition of employment. […]
In Kentucky, the AFL-CIO is fighting the counties in court — a scenario that likely would occur in Illinois if Rauner is successful in pushing the movement forward.
Sean Stott, director of governmental affairs for the Laborers’ union, said there is ample legal evidence county-level changes could be fought successfully. For example, the new local laws in Kentucky come despite an opinion by the state’s Democratic attorney general, who said local authorities don’t have the power to implement the laws.