In Bruce Rauner’s Illinois, the common villain behind crushing pension debt, municipalities sliding toward bankruptcy and businesses bypassing the state is organized labor.
“Government union bosses” are also the reason that Chicago Public Schools are likely to go bankrupt, the Republican governor said recently. And residents of the city, which Rauner says faces greater financial peril than Illinois, can blame them if property taxes skyrocket, he says.
In a little more than 100 days as chief executive of the nation’s lowest-rated state, Rauner has begun an election-worthy campaign tying much of Illinois’s financial misery to the actions of organized labor. If union power isn’t rolled back in a state where one in seven workers is a member, Illinois is doomed, he says.
“We’re slowly, slowly starting to become southeast Michigan,” Rauner, 59, a former private-equity executive, said April 15 in a not-so-veiled reference to Detroit’s record $18 billion bankruptcy. […]
“Our government unions are very, very powerful,” Rauner said in a speech Monday to the Great Lakes Economic Forum in Chicago. “We’re 93 percent unionized — the most unionized state government in America.”
“Very high cost, very much featherbedding and overstaffing,” he said.
Didja hear that, everybody? We’re doooooomed!!!
Guys like that don’t compromise much.
Also, too, overstaffing?
And again with the Detroit card? Has he ever been to Detroit? People have been playing that card since Harold Washington was mayor. Yes, the city has big problems, but Detroit it ain’t, and neither is Illinois.
* From yesterday…
With a series of titanic budget votes coming up fast, Gov. Bruce Rauner went into full campaign mode today, depicting himself as a man on a sacred mission to break the hold that “corrupt” insiders and labor unions have on the state’s government and economy.
Speaking to a friendly business group here in Chicago, the state’s new GOP governor appeared to pull no punches and signaled no interest in compromise—and, if anything, he seemed to lengthen the list of things on his agenda.
“We have a moral duty to act,” Rauner told the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing. “We have a duty to minimize how much we have to take from you. . . .That money belongs to taxpayers.”
Right now, Rauner said, “the unions control everything. There is not a school district in America that can withstand a strike of over a week.” The result, especially here in Illinois, is “higher taxes. Deficit spending. It’s a conflict of interest we’ve got to take care of.”
Alluding to “tough votes” that will occur within a month or two in Springfield, Rauner said “special interests” are “yelling and screaming and trying to intimidate the process.” But they have so weakened the Illinois economy that a “crisis has created the opportunity for structural change.”
He loves him some drama, man.
…Adding… A commenter points to the Waukegan teacher strike last year, which lasted a month.
* And, now, from AFSCME Council 31…
Management pushing to make our workplaces less safe and much less fair.
After several rounds of negotiations, there’s little common ground to be found. The Union is pressing for stronger safeguards against irresponsible privatization, while the Rauner Administration is pushing to wipe out any limits on privatization at all. In fact, the Administration is pushing for changes that would allow the employer to lay off bargaining unit employees and bring in vendor employees to… do their work.
The Administration is proposing dozens of other changes to key sections of the contract aiming to undo decades of progress in shaping safe, fair and humane working conditions. They want to do away with any limits on forced overtime, to eliminate bumping and other layoff rights, to require longer hours and less overtime pay—and much more.
While no economic proposals are yet on the table, the Administration included over $700 million in cuts to the group health plan in its FY 16 budget based on a drastic restructuring of health insurance benefits that could cost each employee thousands of dollars annually.
The governor is claiming that state employee salaries are too high and pensions too generous. In fact, neither our wages nor benefits are out of line with other states or with our skills and education. We ‘re on the job every day providing services that citizens depend on, while the governor is travelling the state trying to stir up animosity toward unions and working people.
We’re standing together for a fair contract! We’re standing up for our union rights!
Unity Day — Thursday, April 30 We’ll be wearing green clothes, or wearing union t-shirts, or wearing the new ‘100%’ union buttons. We’ll have union signs or banners. Check with your local union for the “unity day” plan for your worksite
Gonna be a long, hot summer for Roberta Lynch et al.