The incoming Governor of Illinois, J.B Pritzker, in a pronounced break from his Republican predecessor, Bruce Rauner, has appointed union leaders to advise for his transition team as he prepares to take the reins of Illinois’ state government:
Incoming Gov. JB Pritzker has appointed leaders of AFSCME and other unions to key committees advising his transition team, signaling the end of Rauner-era attacks on workers’ rights and giving the labor movement an important seat at the table in the new administration.
AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch was appointed to the Healthy Children and Families committee that will help set policy priorities for DHS and DCFS as well as city and county health departments and community-based non-profits that receive state funding.
Deputy Director Mike Newman (pictured with Lt. Gov.-Elect Juliana Stratton and Gov.-Elect Pritzker) was asked to serve on the Restorative Justice and Safe Communities committee that will make recommendations on policies related to IDOC, DJJ and state police as well as county courts, jails, sheriffs, probation and more.
Democrat J.B. Pritzker’s willingness to work with unions stands in stark contrast to his predecessor, Republican Bruce Rauner:
Union leaders frame the conflict as a continuation of Rauner’s attacks on organized labor. He’s called the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the state’s largest union, “Af-Scammy” and has said public sector unions pose a “conflict of interest” because they give campaign contributions to politicians who grant raises and set benefits. Last month, Rauner attended arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court for a case his administration sparked by trying to ban public employee unions from collecting fees from workers who declined to join, and he’s cited potential legal wins over labor as something that would make a second term in office different.
“The governor has shown to be essentially driven by the sole goal of breaking men and women of organized labor,” Brad Schaive, business manager for Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 477, said.
Unions allow workers to pool together in order to have more bargaining power in order to negotiate higher wages and better benefits. Republican politicians, who have shown themselves to solely be on the side of big corporations, have decided to fight unions at every turn. Democratic politicians would rather fight for people than corporations, so have shown their willingness to stand by the side of unions. Currently in this country, workers are not getting an equitable slice of the country’s economic pie. What this country needs is more unions, and in order for this country to have more unions, this country needs more politicians who will support unions, not politicians who fight to destroy unions.