Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner responds *** Fritchey, Emanuel double-team Rauner on “right to work” zones
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*** UPDATED x1 - Rauner responds *** Fritchey, Emanuel double-team Rauner on “right to work” zones

Monday, Mar 30, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From a press release…

Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey (D-12) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a two-pronged effort in opposition to Governor Bruce Rauner’s attempt to weaken organized labor, saying that the Governor’s right to work proposal would harm working families by causing lower wages and fewer opportunities. Fritchey has introduced a county resolution in opposition to the Governor’s request that local municipalities take action to support the local right to work zone. Mayor Emanuel intends to introduce a measure indicating Chicago’s opposition to the Governor’s efforts at the next City Council meeting.

“This country has seen the shrinking of the middle class as good, secure jobs and worker protections continue to disappear while more and more families find themselves struggling to make ends meet,” Commissioner Fritchey said. “The Governor’s right to work proposal is a thinly-veiled attempt to dismantle unionized labor organizations which have historically protected the rights and safety of the working and middle class. Prosperity in the middle class is what will make this state and our county fully recover from the our past economic difficulties, not laws making it easier for businesses to underpay and undervalue their employees.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been a vocal opponent of the Governor’s proposed right to work zones. “I commend Commissioner Fritchey for his efforts at the county level and I intend to work with the City Council to urge them to send a clear message against any efforts that would harm the working men and women of our city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Under my tenure as Mayor, Chicago will never be a right to work zone because that’s a race to the bottom, and it would be a devastating hit to Chicago’s middle class.”

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan released an opinion last week declaring that the concept of local right to work zones presented by Governor Rauner would violate federal labor law, stating in part that “current law does not authorize the creation, through the passage of a referendum, of “right to work” zones or local areas wherein union security agreements will not be recognized.”

“Local right to work zones are illegal and the Illinois Attorney General has confirmed that. We appreciate Commissioner John Fritchey and Mayor Rahm Emanuel reinforcing that with these resolutions and are hopeful that their colleagues support their efforts,” said Michael T. Carrigan, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “While Governor Rauner continues his obsessive quest to destroy collective bargaining, it is important that our elected officials stand up in opposition. Maybe then, Rauner will concentrate on the real pressing issues of our state, not the ideological agenda of his corporate friends.”

Commissioner Fritchey intends to call his resolution for a vote at this Wednesday’s County Board meeting. The next City Council meeting is April 15, 2015.

* From Fritchey’s resolution

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Cook County Board of Commissioners hereby opposes the proposal to create local right to work zones in Illinois as such action would violate current federal and state laws and would negatively impact collective bargaining and hurt hard-working middle- class employees and their families in Illinois; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in light of the current federal and Illinois laws, the Cook County Board of Commissioners urges local government subdivisions within Cook County to refrain from considering and adopting resolutions asking the Illinois Legislature to allow local right to work zones.

* By the way, the News-Gazette has been asking Champaign mayoral candidates about the governor’s proposed local right to work resolutions. But other media outlets around the state have pretty much ignored the whole topic. With elections coming up, you’d think that would be news-worthy.

There has been a bit of a debate surrounding the topic in the Springfield mayoral race, but it hasn’t been much of media priority.

*** UPDATE *** Rauner response

A Rauner spokeswoman says some parts of Chicago and Cook County have “outrageously high unemployment” and establishing the zones would make them more attractive to job creators.


  1. - Arsenal - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:56 pm:

    “But other media outlets around the state have pretty much ignored the whole topic.”

    The Springfield mayorals have talked about it quite a bit.

  2. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:59 pm:

    Until non-union citizens sees what the governor is doing has harmful to them, then they won’t care what happens to unions.

    …would harm working families by causing lower wages and fewer opportunities.

    Not clear enough. It sounds like union-speak. Who wrote this?

    Unions already despise Rauner. Unions need non-union citizens to support them. The language needs to speak to non-union citizens. Non-union Illinoisans need to see Rauner’s actions as bad for them, even if they aren’t in a union.

  3. - The Equalizer - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:19 pm:

    I had been wondering about local coverage on this issue. The Metro East downstate has been thunderous in it’s silence on this. It should be getting a lot more play than we’ve seen thus far

  4. - anonin' - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:40 pm:

    Why not votin’ down the resolution BVR demanded Brad Cole send out to all the cities last week
    A lot of “no” votes on BVR’s little ditty might suggest the governor needs to move on to his next folly — the Blagoofian-like sellin’ JRTC — or callin’ for a caucus to pick a congressional candidate — currently I-l-l-e-g-a-l!

  5. - Ugly Rumours - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    From the quotes from the candidates for Springfield mayor, it sounds like a choice between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb.

  6. - Frenchie Mendoza - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:45 pm:

    How does all this realistically play out when the AG has declared right-to-work on a local level likely illegal?

    Would a municipality go forward with it despite the AG’s ruling? Does this put the muni at risk for legal fees if someone decides to challenge it?

    Why would a muni do this given the AG’s ruling? As a way of currying favor with Rauner despite the obvious legal issues?

  7. - Liberty - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    In the Springfield mayoral debate. L said P supported RTW and P couldn’t hardly run fast enough from RTW.

  8. - RayRay - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    Emanuel knows it’s the trades unions that get him elected, he’s not going to burn that bridge until he gets elected again next week. He’s just playing good cop at the moment, stay tuned.

  9. - Wordslinger - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:04 pm:

    If nothing else, Rauner has let his buddy Rahm play Working Class Hero in the election runup.

  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    Would Rahm be saying anything on this issue if Mr. Garcia was not running?

  11. - CharlieKratos - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:12 pm:

    Maybe this is what Rauner’s massive hate-on for the unions is about. He’s already stated that he’s not afraid to “take the arrows”. Maybe he’s just being the bad cop.

  12. - Cheswick - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:28 pm:

    == Liberty - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    In the Springfield mayoral debate. L said P supported RTW and P couldn’t hardly run fast enough from RTW. ==

    I noticed that too. But, I figure if Palazollo gets elected, he’ll have 6th Ward Ald. Jobe, who also happens to now be Rauner’s new head of tourism for the state, breathing down P’s neck to support RTW.

  13. - qcexaminer - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:58 pm:

    These “right to work zones” were never meant for Chicago, whose economy is going great guns compared to the rest of the state.

    They were intended to help economically depressed areas like southern IL, but never let the facts get in the way of a good campaign slogan/talking point.

    But hey, I hear there’s an election coming up in Chicago so it’s all good.

  14. - scott aster - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:26 pm:

    These zones are for Rockford or Danvile or down in coal country….these chicago guys just want the news coverage….period.

  15. - Arsenal - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:34 pm:

    Where did the proposal say “RTWFL Zones, except for Chicago”, exactly?

    If they’re such a good idea, they should be applicable for 1/3 of the state.

  16. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:53 pm:

    ===These “right to work zones” were never meant for Chicago===

    ===These zones are for Rockford or Danvile or down in coal country===

    Check the update.

  17. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:57 pm:

    So basically the Governor wants to create low paying jobs. Good goal to have. Sheesh.

  18. - Norseman - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 4:02 pm:

    === establishing the zones would make them more attractive to job creators. ===

    Indentured servitude works well too.

  19. - Langhorne - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 4:20 pm:

    Hate to be a pest, but: illegal.

    Its ok to pull a lemke, and pass an unconstitutional bill. But you gotta have a bill.

  20. - Arsenal - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 4:23 pm:

    Man, sucks to have the principal just cut off a talking point like that.

  21. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 4:25 pm:

    ===sucks to have the principal just cut off a talking point===

    Yeah. They need to check with HQ more often.

  22. - G'Kar - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 4:30 pm:

    It looks like Oswego is going to vote on Rauner’s plan:

    The Oswego Village Board, under the President’s Report, will be presenting a resolution in support of the Rauner “turnaround plan”, known also as “enterprise zones” or “right-to-work zones”, for review and discussion this Tuesday, March 31st , @ 7 pm immediately following the Committee of the Whole, which starts at 6 pm. Oswego Village Hall, 100 Parkers Mill, Oswego, IL.

  23. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 4:43 pm:

    I love you VanillaMan but that, sir, is how we got here.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 5:21 pm:

    - G’Kar -

    I leave town for ONE day…Do I take this as a personal shot?

  25. - PAM - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 5:29 pm:

    Let’s see. Local government officials are against a law that would give them the right to determine something in their community? If the Legislature passes it, they might have to say no, or yes, or refuse to vote on it. Maybe more directives from the Legislature on how to run local goverment are a good thing…?

  26. - G'Kar - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 5:43 pm:

    OW, I immediately thought of you when I first read the email that talked about this.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 5:49 pm:

    - G’Kar -,

    It will be interesting to hear the arguments, or if it just gets ribber stamped, or if denying the resolution after going this far in the process, will there be fallout?

    I can’t go, pick any reason, but will there be voices there to argue each side of the resolution.

  28. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 6:14 pm:

    ==establishing the zones would make them more attractive to job creators==

    Let’s lower wages and make sure the workers are afraid to voice concerns about unsafe working conditions! (I’m still waiting for the proposal to lower the pesky minimum wage by a dollar. You know he wants to.)

  29. - Jorge - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 8:32 pm:

    Job creators…..that’s so 2010.

  30. - Bibe - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 8:48 pm:

    Is this really the way Rauner’s official spokesperson talks: ‘outraageously high unemployment’? I’m not too impressed with their mastery of the issues.

  31. - Wordslinger - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:37 pm:

    VMan, you’ve been going yard.

    Big, bad, smart guy selling it.

    Proud of you., brother.

    Really am.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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