* The governor’s office says it has no updates for us this morning. Let’s move along to local media coverage starting with the Elgin Courier-News…
Kane County won’t be endorsing Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Illinois reform package, but will craft its own resolution calling for reform in Springfield.
“Kane County will play no part in the Governor’s politically motivated crusade against the working class citizens of Illinois, we will instead actively engage Springfield ’s legislative initiatives that directly impact our county’s budget and the wellbeing of our citizens,” County board member Myrna Molina said at the county’s Legislative Committee meeting Wednesday.
The county’s Legislative Committee’s Wednesday agenda included a discussion on a resolution. Rauner has been asking cities, villages and counties to pass a Local Government Empowerment and Reform resolution. He made a stop in Kane County April 7 seeking support. Rauner’s office could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Union members from around Kane County crowded Wednesday’s meeting to speak out against the resolution.
* The Joliet Times Weekly…
Joliet Mayor-Elect Bob O’Dekirk said Tuesday he opposes the governor’s proposal to creation of right-to-work “empowerment zones” in order to entice new businesses to Illinois.
Eliminating workers’ rights to collectively bargain by asking voters to vote on the issue through local voter referendums is “not an option,” O’Dekirk said in a statement he released on the issue. […]
“While the governor says that he respects the rights of labor to organize and fight for their wages and benefits, the creation of right-to-work zones would effectively create a disadvantage for union employers to create and expand operations in municipalities that respect the right to organize,” O’Dekirk.
“Union training, union standards and union safety rules protect workers, employers and the general public from workplace accidents and disasters. A union worker may cost more, but you get more, and so does the local economy. Those union wages support every business in the city of Joliet while the additional corporate profits earned in non-union companies may never find their way back into our local economy.”
* Daily Herald…
“The governor is encouraged that communities across the state from Round Lake Beach to McHenry County to Rockford to Effingham County are embracing the turnaround agenda,” Rauner’s office said in a statement Wednesday. “The turnaround agenda resolution is a way for communities to show they embrace the governor’s plan for more voter empowerment and local control.”
East Dundee Village President Lael Miller, however, says the village’s unanimous support of the agenda is not an endorsement of one of its most controversial elements — so-called empowerment zones or right-to-work zones that could be created if municipalities were allowed to decide whether workers must join a union to be employed. Proponents of the governor’s plan say the zones will help attract jobs, but union leaders denounce them as “right-to-work-for-less” zones.
“What (the resolution) says is that we’d like to start a larger conversation with the governor,” Miller said. “We realize that Illinois has a severe fiscal crisis. We know that things have to change. This is a starting point.” […]
In Buffalo Grove, officials approved a resolution that opposes unfunded mandates and asks the state not to freeze property taxes or cut the amount of tax revenue it gives back to municipalities. But it was a far cry from what Rauner suggested.
“I didn’t feel it was appropriate for us to do deal with those types of union issues,” Village President Jeffrey Braiman said.
“There are thousands of employers, manufacturers and transportation firms, foreign-owned companies, that won’t come to a closed-shop, forced-unionization state,” [Gov. Rauner] said. And he added that as local governments consider the resolutions, “the special interest groups that like big government and currently control government, they’re showing up by the hundreds. They’re shipping them from other communities by the busloads to protest.
“Stand up to the protests,” Rauner told the bankers. “The government doesn’t belong to those folks; it belongs to the local people.” He said to tell local officials to support the agenda. […]
[Bill Looby, political director of the state AFL-CIO] hadn’t heard of any busloads of out-of-towners at any of the local meetings.
“It’s false and insulting to local communities for the governor to dismiss or distort grassroots resistance to his anti-worker tactics,” [Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME Council 31] said. “If he listened to testimony in town after town, he would hear teachers, caregivers, construction workers and tradespeople” protecting their “middle-class standard of living against the governor’s attacks. … The only ‘outsiders’ I’m aware of at these meetings are the governor’s own staff.”