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items tagged with unions

Return Doesn’t Justify the Pain on the Turnaround Agenda
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-11-02 03:16:03

For months now, Governor Bruce Rauner has said he won’t negotiate a state budget unless his “Turnaround Agenda” demands are met. In the meantime, he has slashed funding for the child-care-assistance program, homeless services have been decimated, mental-health services are going without cash, universities are struggling, and even the Meals on Wheels service for the elderly is cutting back deliveries.

But one of the most important things missing from the debate over that “Turnaround Agenda” is how much money the governor’s proposals would truly save state and local governments. Even for those who support the ideas, is it really worth all this pain?

There is simply no hard, reliable, trustworthy data out there because numbers from both sides of the debate on union-related subjects such as the prevailing wage are so steeped in ideology.

Among other things, the governor is demanding that local governments, including school districts, be allowed to opt out of paying the prevailing wage on construction and other projects. The amount is set by county, and all publicly financed projects must pay those wages. Unions say killing off the prevailing wage won’t save much if any money because productivity will drop when inexperienced, low-wage employees are used to replace trained construction and trades workers.

But just for the sake of argument, let’s say that’s not true.

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Veto Override Could Mean War – or a Way Out
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-08-23 11:28:50

I think on August 19 a new and brief window of opportunity opened that might finally help wrap up this long and drawn-out state-legislative overtime session.

But that window will only be open for 15 calendar days – the time the state Constitution gives each legislative chamber to vote on a veto override.

Allow me to explain.

I spoke with some Rauner folks last week and, man, are they ever on the warpath about the Senate’s August 19 override of the governor’s veto of the AFSCME bill – legislation that would prevent a strike by or lockout of state workers and would instead require binding arbitration after an impasse is reached. The House has 15 days from that date to take its own action.

Even though AFSCME has never invoked its binding-arbitration power with state corrections officers (who cannot strike by law), the governor and his people clearly see this bill as an intrusion on executive-branch powers.

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Governor Needs to Learn to Deal with Madigan
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-07-26 11:11:32

Last week, Governor Bruce Rauner declared to reporters that if it weren’t for House Speaker Michael Madigan, the budget impasse would’ve been resolved.

And perhaps if the sky were green, then grass would be blue.

For starters, what the governor said is dubious. In the absence of Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and his liberal Democratic caucus wouldn’t have gone along with the harshly anti-union aspects of Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” in exchange for a budget deal and tax hike, as the governor is demanding.

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Republicans Snub Labor in Right-to-Work Vote
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-05-17 11:30:53

Governor Bruce Rauner had several House Republicans over to the Executive Mansion last week to ask them to vote “present” when the House Democrats called their “right to work” bill the following day.

Right-to-work laws allow union members to not pay for any of their union’s services, even though unions are required by federal law to serve all their members. The laws can cripple unions, which may help businesses but tends to drive down wages.

Why would the Democrats bring an anti-union bill to the House floor? Various reasons – one of them being that they are so opposed to the idea and the governor has pushed it so forcefully that they wanted to finally get the issue off the table by killing it dead. They also wanted to put the Republicans in a tight spot of choosing between the governor and their friends in organized labor.

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Unions Flex Muscles, Almost Knock Off Rauner
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2014-03-23 11:27:21

It didn’t take long for Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner to drop the word “unions” from his vocabulary.

After bashing public-employee-union leaders for months as corrupt bosses who buy votes to control Springfield, Rauner and his campaign have assiduously avoided the use of the U word since his victory last Tuesday. Instead, he’s switched to a line about how “our government is run by lobbyists, for special interests, and the career politicians in both parties let it happen.”

Rauner’s campaign manager said on primary night that his boss is “pro-union.” Rauner himself insisted last week that he’s not anti-union and never has been.

The candidate’s record clearly shows otherwise, however. Rauner kicked off his campaign with a widely published op-ed in which he called for legislation to allow individual counties to approve their own “right to work” laws. Rauner has also repeatedly demanded that Illinois follow the lead of states such as Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin, all of which have all passed anti-union laws.

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