Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker’s relationship with unions is now a mixed bag
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Pritzker’s relationship with unions is now a mixed bag

Monday, Aug 2, 2021

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column from last week

This past May, Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon Booth, D-Peoria, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker worked out a deal with some key state business groups to mandate seven days of paid leave per year for every employee in Illinois. Workers wouldn’t have to give any reasons for the guaranteed paid leave.

But organized labor, in particular some Chicago union leaders, angrily came out against it, arguing that the bill’s home rule preemption language would prevent Chicago from eventually enacting an even broader ordinance.

I asked Gov. Pritzker the other day if he planned to bring the paid leave bill back next year.

“I want to expand paid leave,” the governor said. “We’ll continue to work with legislators to make sure that we’re overcoming the hesitancy. But yeah, I’m not going to stop fighting for more paid leave for people across the state.”

I had talked to some downstate legislators and labor folks after the bill fell apart and they were clearly upset because the legislation would’ve been a boon to workers in their part of the state.

“It’s been deeply concerning to me that when you get outside the City of Chicago, and particularly when you get to central, southern Illinois, paid leave is non-existent. Non-existent,” Pritzker said, repeating himself for emphasis.

“Nothing happens instantaneously, usually, in Springfield,” Pritzker said. “And sometimes it takes a session or two to get something done, and sometimes more than that, but I’m impatient. So, I’m going to keep working.”

Pritzker’s Springfield recent news media interviews to kick off his reelection campaign were held at the downtown office of the Laborers Union. Early union support was crucial to his 2018 primary victory and Pritzker has trumpeted their causes.

But some cracks beyond the paid leave proposal emerged during the spring session. A small union local held up an important bill for the state’s burgeoning data center industry over the hiring of a tiny handful of non-union workers. Labor had targeted a non-union contractor at a refinery a few years ago, then agreed to set aside their bill, but when it reemerged this year a host of industries were targeted by what some business groups labeled as “forced unionization.”

And, of course, organized labor has put a brick on the climate/energy bill that Pritzker wants passed over worries that coal and gas-fired electric power plants will be closed. Almost two months after talks broke down, little to no progress has been made.

So, I asked Pritzker how he can maintain his relationship with organized labor while still saying, “Folks, maybe you’re going a little too far here.”

As expected, Pritzker claimed he has an “excellent” relationship with organized labor. “We talk all the time. And I think that having a good relationship means that you say what you really think, and you share your concerns with one another. And we do that with one another. So, there are going to be disagreements that occur, and you got to work through these things.”

On the climate/energy bill, Pritzker said he believes there’s a “misunderstanding about whether we’re talking about 2035 or 2045” for his decarbonization goals.

“The reality is that the industry itself, the coal industry for example, has said that they can get [carbon] sequestration to 90 percent by 2035. They’re the ones who volunteered that to begin with. And so, we want to make sure that happens. But we’re not trying to close them down in 2035, we want to go to 2045, 24 years from now.”

I’m pretty sure it’s far more complicated than that, and I’ve been hearing from some very depressed folks in the past week when I’ve asked about the prospects for a deal anytime soon.

When an energy bill was negotiated while the anti-union Bruce Rauner was governor, the unions agreed to drop their demands for some all-important prevailing wage language in order to get a deal done to save a couple of nuclear power plants. Now, the unions have prevailing wage in this new bill, but are also pushing the pro-union Pritzker hard to stand with them against his own stated desires to eventually decarbonize the electric power industry.

Union leadership isn’t as cohesive as it was when they were all banding together against Rauner. And now that Michael Madigan is no longer the House speaker, there’s nobody in Springfield with the authority and might to convince the politically powerful unions to back down a bit. Pritzker has to find a different, uncharted way.

* Related…

* Press Release: Exelon Generation Submits Decommissioning Plans for Byron and Dresden Nuclear Plants - Job reduction notifications to affected employees will be next step in shutting down the plants this fall

* Exelon moves ahead with plans to shut down Byron, Dresden nuclear plants

* ‘This is not a bluff’: Exelon moves to shut down 2 nuclear power plants in Illinois as parent company of scandal-plagued ComEd seeks more state subsidies

* How much time does Exelon want to clean up a nuke site? The utility files for the maximum—a couple of generations.

* Prairie State Energy Campus a piece in solving Illinois’ clean-energy legislation puzzle

* Jobs, reliability and bailouts chief concerns amid possible Illinois energy legislation

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PublicServant - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 6:30 am:

    I’m generally pro-union, but cut the garbage. This is a bad position for labor to take. A few jobs doesn’t trump climate changes that will affect our children for many decades to come.

  2. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 7:05 am:

    Worked union most of my life, owe them a lot.

    You want to lose even more public support? Keep holding on to coal.

  3. - Commissar Gritty - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 9:42 am:

    I’d rather my taxes pay for them to get trained on new jobs than buying sandbags once everything starts flooding… actually nevermind the flooding has already started. No concessions for fossil fuels, phase them out as quickly as possible.

  4. - Now I’m down in it. - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 10:59 am:

    Unions holding back progress for all of us? I’m shocked.

  5. - TNR - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 11:58 am:

    As Rich writes in his piece, “I’m pretty sure it’s more complicated than that.”

    Illinois is not an island when it comes to energy generation and consumption. If we close plants here they’ll just open new ones across the border. Or the existing plants in Missouri, Indiana, etc., will burn more. And just like the power, the pollution will cross state lines. And most of the employees in those right-to-work state plants won’t be union members. So, you can see labor’s hesitancy.

    Having said that, I’d love to see the greens and unions find some middle ground. Seems like national energy policy is coming along in that direction. Federal decarb policy would help us avoid the carbon leakage issue referenced above.

  6. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 2:42 pm:

    If I could just make one more trip down the hole…said no miner…ever.

TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Question of the day
* Pritzker in Peoria for two big announcements
* Get your (flu) shots, people
* State's eviction moratorium will expire on October 3
* Rep. Welter files pro-virus transmission bill
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker issued EO late Friday in response to school quarantine lawsuits
* Today's must-read: Six Rules That Will Define Our Second Pandemic Winter
* Open thread
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller