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.
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.