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Across Illinois, Cities and Counties are Formally Rejecting Gov. Rauner’s Anti-Union Proposals

Bruce Rauner protest

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Across Illinois, municipalities are rejecting the “Turnaround Agenda” of Governor Bruce Rauner, which calls for changes to the prevailing wage and workers compensation systems as well as the creation of as-yet unconstitutional “Right-to-Work” zones.  The agenda is being tackled by city councils after Brad Cole, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal League, sent emails to municipalities across the state asking them to consider Rauner’s proposals.  

In Mt. Zion, a town of 5,280 just southeast of Decatur, the Board of Trustees voted on Monday to table the “Turnaround Agenda.”  Trustee Rick Bright explained that he didn’t believe such serious proposals should be rushed through the legal process.  “I’m not sure two weeks is enough time to go through this rigmarole,” he said.

The trustee meeting took place a day before highly contested elections for mayor and three trustee seats.  The resolutions will likely be given another chance when the new city government convenes.

In Woodstock, a town of nearly 25,000 that is 50 miles northwest of Chicago, city council voted 5-2 to table the resolutions after hearing testimony from the region’s union workers.  The union turnout was actually so large that the meeting was moved to a local high school.  Even Councic members who support the resolution were in favor of tabling the resolution given the serious nature of its intent.  Among them were councilmember Mike Turner, who told The Northwest Herald:

“The dialogue overall, the intensity and seriousness of the issue, and my sense of the council at that moment in time led me to support the mayor’s recommendation to table it.  It does not change my support and belief in the resolution.”

Ed Maher, spokesman for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150, attended the council meeting with roughly 80 other union members.  Maher told The Northwest Herald about the union’s objections to the proposed “Turnaround Agenda,” saying:

“These are anti-worker, anti-middle-class id. If officials aren’t familiar with prevailing wage or project labor agreements, this seems like a rubber-stamp resolution. That’s why it’s important for local members to come out and say what this means to them.”

Similar acts of solidarity have popped up around the state.  Maher said that hundreds of union members showed up to show their opposition in Pingree Grove.  The week prior, a large group of union workers packed the Oswego Village Hall in opposition.

Last week in Watseka Iroquois County, union members flooded a board room asking the County Board to oppose the proposals.  Dave Beck, staff representative for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, told the board that the proposals were misguided and likely illegal:

“You all didn’t come up with this idea out of the blue. The governor is going county by county, city by city, pressuring you folks to adopt these resolutions,” Beck said. “And I think we have ask ourselves, ‘Why is he doing this when the issue before us in this state is the budget?’ The state of Illinois’ budget is in terrible shape, and instead of focusing on fixing that, he and his employees are going out over the state, spending all this time and energy, trying to get us on this issue. And it has nothing to do with the actual problem.

“So I ask you, don’t play this game. Instead of passing this resolution, go back to the governor and say, ‘Governor, this isn’t the issue that’s important to us right now. The issue that’s important to us is the state budget. We want you to work with the Legislature to make that work.’”

The resolution will be up for further discussion at an April 14th meeting, but some board members have gone on record saying they don’t believe there is much support for Rauner’s agenda.  County Board Chairman Kyle Anderson put it plainly, saying, “I can’t imagine it going very far.”


2 Comments on “Across Illinois, Cities and Counties are Formally Rejecting Gov. Rauner’s Anti-Union Proposals”

  1. In the fourth paragraph the word “Council” is spelled incorrectly. I find it sad how often typos appear in articles these days. Publications seem to have dismissed their proof readers. It always leaves me with a sense that the article is unprofessional when I come across typos. If the author and publisher don’t care enough to be sure the words are correct, how can I be sure the same effort wasn’t in play on the fact checking?

    1. This site has published thousands of articles. How can we be sure your opinionis of value if you haven’t read enough of our pieces to recognize how infrequent a typo of this nature is?

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