Put the unions together with the Republicans and there’s trouble.
* But Greg Hinz recently pointed out an interesting spring trend. Labor wasn’t nearly as successful as it had hoped to be…
This year, when a bill was introduced dealing with state tax incentives for in the chemical and oil refining business, an amendment was quickly added requiring that a growing percentage of workers in “high risk” jobs be graduates of an apprenticeship program. Almost all apprenticeship programs are run by unions. The bill passed the Senate and is awaiting final action in the House.
A little later, Rep. Bob Rita, D-Chicago, introduced a bill tweaking the state’s laws on casinos. Included was a clause requiring the Illinois Gaming Board to consider whether license applicants had signed [a labor peace agreement] covering not only technical positions such as building engineers but “gaming” and “hospitality” workers. In other words, pretty much anyone. And exactly what that LPA would require—other than the union’s nod—was left a little vague.
Then came an amendment to an otherwise routine measure tweaking Pritzker’s data-center tax credit program, which the governor says has pulled in $5 billion of investment here. Sponsored by Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights, it would require all qualifying data centers—existing and proposed—to have an LPA covering water-management and other engineering jobs within 180 days.
The refining and data center bills went nowhere in the Senate. The gaming bill, Greg reports, was stripped of the LPA provision.
But, again, pair Democratic union allies with Republicans and you’ve probably got enough to stop most anything, at least in the House and especially when bills require a three-fifths vote for passage.
* On the other side of the coin are the activists, and they’re already leery of the legislation. Fox 32…
A source close to the negotiations says the deal pays Exelon $600 to $700 million over the next five years for the three nuclear plants being added to the deal. A utility watchdog says that is unfair to electricity consumers.
Abe Scarr of Illinois PIRG urged lawmakers to reject the proposal if it comes to a vote when the House and Senate reconvene next week.
“We have an outside, independent look at their plants and a recommendation, based on evidence, that they don’t need more than $350 million over the next five years. But somehow we’re still giving them potentially twice that much,” he said.
As it has for years, Exelon/ComEd threatens to shut down several of the nuclear power plants. Governor JB Pritzker wants to keep them all online, not least because they generate more than half the Chicago area’s electricity, without sending climate-changing carbon into the atmosphere.
“People are gonna have a stable source of electricity,” Pritzker recently said on Flannery Fired Up. “And they’re gonna know that we’re saving the planet.”
A source close to the talks said Exelon/ComEd initially demanded $1.5 billion. The source said former Governor Bruce Rauner’s subsidy deal for two nukes paid Exelon more than $15 per megawatt hour. The source said Pritzker should be praised because the tentative deal for three additional plants would pay Exelon only one-sixth of that: $2.55 per megawatt hour.
* A new clean energy bill could bring more jobs to Black Chicago communities and eliminate the use of fossil fuels