Union workers blast Rauner for state budget impasse

BY TINA SFONDELES – CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

At least 1,300 union employees packed the city’s Plumber’s Union Hall on Saturday as they listened to several rallying cries from union leaders amidst the state’s budget impasse and union contract struggles.

The “Rallies for Fairness” are aimed at sending Rauner a message: “Stop holding hostages, drop your extreme demands that hurt all working people, and agree to a fair budget and fair union contracts now,” organizers of the event said.

Rauner’s state cuts and his turnaround agenda were booed at every step as union workers waved signs that read “Fair Contract Now.”

“Do we deserve fair compensation? Well, Governor Rauner doesn’t think you do,” Michael Carrigan, president of AFL-CIO Illinois, told the crowd.

Carrigan said pushing down wages and benefits on the middle class is the Rauner’s administration definition of “compromise.”

“We’re not going to stand for that. We’re going to fight,” Carrigan siad.

Powerful state politicians also joined union leaders and employees at the rally, including United States Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Illinois Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie.

“We are talking about the middle class. We are talking about seniors. We are talking about children. We are talking about the disabled and most vulnerable people in the state,” Schakowsky said. “But does he care? No. Because he has a pathological union busting agenda, and he is not going to stop until he gets his way. And so we have to stand firm. Are you ready to fight back?”   read more…..