An Illinois budget deal that will end public employee collective bargaining.


Making a deal to end collective bargaining?

In the Fall of 2003 our local bargaining team sat across the table from members of our board of education.

Our contract had expired the previous August and here it was, November, and we were still at it.

And then board member Joe Baldi leaned into the table and said, “You know, Klonsky. Teachers are just another cost that needs to be contained.”

A few days later, at a union local membership meeting, I shared Joe’s bargaining theory with our members. They voted 93% to authorize a strike.

Crain’s Greg Hinz is reporting today that there are serious proposals on the table for a possible break in the budget log-jam in Springfield. It includes something that Joe Baldi might have come up with. Democratic Party Senator Heather Steans’ proposal would create a third tier pension plan and former Rahm operative, Greg Goldner’s would end public employee collective bargaining of  wages.

Neither Rauner nor any of the legislative leaders would comment on the proposal. But neither did they publicly reject it. One top Springfield insider privately griped to me about “a political consultant” having the temerity to act like a lawmaker and propose a deal. But, that insider conceded, when the war ends, “I have no doubt it may look something like” the Goldner plan.

Who is Greg Goldner? The political operative, as Hinz calls him, has worked for Daley, Rahm and Rauner. With Bruce Rauner money he has set up Illinois for Growth and Opportunity (IllinoisGO). The PAC claims it is a Democratic Party pro-business group. They are targeting progressive Democrats in the primaries in order to elect Democrats legislators that are more sympathetic to the Rauner anti-labor agenda.

Democrats like Heather Steans.

And targeting for defeat progressive Democrats like my State Rep. Will Guzzardi.

Who are IllinoisGO funders?

Ken Griffin, 2014’s highest earning hedge fund manager, contributed $8 million to Rauner’s campaign last December, seven weeks after the gubernatorial election was over and certified. Infamous real estate tycoon Sam Zell, whose disastrous 2007 purchase of the Tribune Company resulted in the cultural and financial bankruptcies of some the country’s most venerated media institutions, recently gave $4 million to Turnaround Illinois. On April 15, IllinoisGo, the Democratic leaning PAC, reported a $1 million contribution from Sam Zell’s wife, Helen.

By Rauner’s own admission, he is himself not a member of “the 1 percent” but rather of the “0.01 percent,” a descriptor that easily applies to the small clique of funders who helped put him in office and are now opening their checkbooks to further his agenda. Along with Zell and Griffin (who told the Chicago Tribune in 2012 that the ultra-wealthy have “an insufficient influence” on the political process), Rauner and the Illinois GOP’s most important allies include John Arnold (#714 on the Forbes list of the wealthiest people alive) and Richard Uihlein, (a major donor to Tea Party candidates throughout the United States who is sometimes referred to as the, “Koch of Illinois”).

Said State Representative Will Guzzardi about Goldner’s group, “IllinoisGo is aimed at people like me. It is intended to pose the threat of running and supporting more centrist, corporate Democrats who are comfortable with what the governor is trying to do.”

With this alliance of Republicans and corporate Democrats and end to collective bargaining for public employees is very possible.

If you remove the right to bargain salaries is there no real collective bargaining.

In their eyes, we are just a cost to be contained.

12 Replies to “An Illinois budget deal that will end public employee collective bargaining.”

  1. Dear Fred,

    If collective bargaining of wages is taken away from public workers, the line in the sand will have been drawn. Don’t expect many politicians to fight for public worker’s rights. ALL Union members will need to take a stand. Union members will either stand up for themselves or they won’t. No one else can do it for them, they will have to do it themselves.

    No more back biting or “Why should I? What is in it for me?” moves. Unions can either fight or die. The quislings among us will be called out and forced to decide if they really believe in unionism or just their own position and pay.

    Passage of any agreement eliminating the collective bargaining of wages by public employees SHOULD result in an immediate general strike by all union employees. No collective bargaining, no work. Public workers might as well strike, because if they lose collective bargaining of wages, these jobs won’t be worth anything. If public workers lose this right, the other unions will be next, including the skilled trades.

    Time to get off the fence. Which side are YOU on?

    1. I remember the time when ALL the unions had simultaneous expiration dates on their contracts with CPS. All of them also had a clause of the contract stating their contract would be effective as soon as CPS had settled their contracts with all the other unions. Also, all the contracts said no employee would be required to cross a picket line. In other words everyone works or everyone stays home. That’s how it was and that is how it should be.
      Now it is different. Any union employee with a valid contract can be fired for engaging in a strike during the term of their own contract.
      Rauner is out to destroy all unions in Illinois, public and private. I am afraid it is already too late.

      1. Brucie Boy is waging an all out war on the middle class!! He stated before the election that there should be NO minimum wage and wages of $4 an hour would be fine! He keeps using the argument “taxpayers”, but what he means are the rich. It does no good to the shrinking middle class if they save $1,000 in taxes while their wages decrease $3000!!!! Trump accused the voters in Iowa of being stupid! I accuse the voters of Illinois being dumb and dumber!! They vote against their own best interest!! “Stupid is as stupid does”! My guess is if you follow the money trail of Brucie’s “turn around agenda” you will find that it will benefit him and his cronies. This is corruption, but everybody in the state government is corrupt AND we no longer have a free press!!!! The day Brucie is nailed and goes to prison, the drinks are on me!!!!!!

  2. Contract language means nothing when the other side is stripped of any right to collectively bargain for wages. Not so long ago, many teachers went out on strike even though it meant breaking the law. It can happen again.

    Why should any public employee quietly follow present contract rules when management makes new rules that take away any say in what workers get paid? No collective bargaining, no work.

    If it means getting locked up, OK. If it means getting fired, OK. If collective bargaining is illegal for a job, it is a job not worth having in any case. There is a thing called “the consent of the governed”. We do not have to agree just because they say so.

    1. Hugh,
      If we have a legal union contract, even a bad one, we would be breaking it to walk off the job. If it means getting fired, OK? That’s exactly what Rauner and his friends on school boards want. If we are forced into a legal strike, we go back when the strike is over. If we get fired for an illegal strike, we don’t go back, they would replace us with their friends and TFAs. If they get enough of them in, they will vote to de-certify the union.

      1. Dear Anon,
        While I admire your reluctance to ignore contract language or to do something “illegal”, I respectfully disagree with your logic. There is no purpose to a strike in the absence of the ability to bargain in a collective manner. As a matter of fact, if collective bargaining of wages were to be outlawed, there is no longer any real purpose for unions. Collective bargaining of wages is one of the main points of having a union.

        Most teachers are “rules” people who are very reluctant to make waves. Enemies of public education know and exploit this fact. If this profession is to survive and prosper, teachers must be willing to be assertive and even confrontational when opposing this exploitation. Going along to get along won’t work. Just look at what happened to “tenure” with Senate Bill 7. We AGREED to accept that. (Teachers don’t deserve due process???) The choice to comply leads to oblivion.

        I believe teachers need a more radical approach. In my opinion, teachers should refuse to accept any more “second class” treatment. In this case, no collective bargaining, no work. Teachers are not so easily replaced. I know there are lots of individuals who hold certificates. Other states have discovered that certificates are not teachers. Illinois might discover this truth as well.

        Many college graduates have registered a teaching certificate in Illinois, but if they are not teaching now, why would they drop everything to take a “second class” job for lower pay? Someone else must actually be WILLING and ABLE to teach if we are to be replaced.

        Solidarity is the key to our success. I say, “Good luck to Governor Rauner and his supporters if their solution is to try to replace all the teachers in Illinois”. The manpower just isn’t there. You can’t put a certificate in front of a class, you need a real, live person. We have all seen what happens when you put an unqualified person there. Maybe they need to see that too.

        Teachers won’t have to worry about their jobs if they do nothing in the face of attacks on collective bargaining. The jobs will be gone anyway. We are condemned to choose whether we like it or not. Which side are you on?

      2. Dear Hugh,
        I see and agree with most of your points, and I respectfully disagree on a some. My thoughts are if Rauner takes away collective bargaining over wages, the next time the contract is up, don’t settle but don’t strike in the summer, wait until about the third week of school. Then strike and be prepared to stay out as long as it takes. Even if we can’t “negotiate” wages, a school board could voluntarily increase them. If the schools are closed for a couple months, parents would demand the school board give a reasonable contract.
        If Gates, Pearson, and their friends have their way, a lot of “teaching” is going to be done on computer with a non-teacher running the class. This is not good education. We must make parents understand this, so they will demand school boards do not even try that.
        We must elect people to office in Springfield that will preserve the collective bargaining process. We must keep Rauner from getting his way on collective bargaining in the first place. It will be way harder to get collective bargaining back if it gets taken away. Thousands of calls to the legislators might help.

  3. Dear Democratic Party Leadership wherever you are,

    If the Democratic Party of Illinois, corporate Dems or otherwise pull a “Pat Quinn” by supporting an anti-labor agenda, it’s the coup de grace for the party in this State. Corporate or “centrist” Democrats have done enough damage to the party brand for more than 25 years. We seen the results of corporate Democratic leadership all the way from Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, to Rahm, the Perpetually Wrong, to Pat Quinn and even Mike Madigan. Their record for getting rank-and-file Democrats to the polls and winning elections is appalling.

    Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, another corporate Dem, is at the helm of the Democratic National Committee. Debbie has a record for finding and supporting corporate Dem congressional candidates whom the voters ultimately rejected. Her latest faux pas is scheduling the Democratic debate for last Saturday evening only to protect Hillary from Bernie. These leaders have alienated many traditional, pro-labor Democratic voters who refuse to go to the polls.

    The Democratic leaders have an uncanny expertise in suppressing their own voter base. Republicans don’t need to bother with “winning” through election fraud. The Democrats will do it for them for free. Then, these leaders scratch their heads in disbelief, golly gee, that their rank-and-file stayed home on election day. That spells disaster in 2016 for not only the Democratic Party, but every Democratic candidate from POTUS to county board member. Worse, it spells disaster for everyone in the country, including the halfwits who can’t get beyond voting for Republicans. The only ace in the hole for Dems is the hope of utter incompetence of Republican candidates. Wait a minute…. Aren’t the majority of governorships and state legislatures in the hands of Republicans already? Bernie knows and understands this fact. What about you, Mike, Debbie, and Hillary???!!!

    And Mike, don’t compromise on Rauner’s anti-labor agenda. You may cutting your own throat.

    Karl Gabbey, Democratic Precinct Committeeman

  4. These corporate democrats are not true democrats particularly if they are out to destroy collective bargaining. It is time to recruit candidates who will be
    Pro labor these corporate democrats are not democrats but republicans in the true
    Sense of the word.

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