Friday, January 17, 2014

The State’s Labor Federation Endorses Quinn…

Press Release:
Following a meeting of its Committee on Political Education (COPE) Thursday, the Illinois AFL-CIO Executive Board made endorsements for the upcoming March 18 Primary Election.
Top of the ballot Democrats U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Governor Pat Quinn were endorsed. Durbin is unopposed in the primary and Quinn has an opponent. Other statewide candidates tapped for endorsement were incumbents Lisa Madigan (Democrat, Attorney General), Jesse White (Democrat, Secretary of State), and Judy Baar Topinka (Republican, Comptroller). State Treasurer Candidate Mike Frerichs was endorsed early by the organization in September in the Democratic Primary.
"We spent two days looking at the political environment in Illinois and how labor can best engage our membership in the political process," said Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan. "There were nearly 100 members of the COPE Committee from all unions and all areas of the state here to give their input. Considerable time and deliberation went into the endorsements by the committee and the executive board."
Additionally, the board passed a resolution to engage union members to defeat GOP candidate for Governor Bruce Rauner. Rauner, a billionaire private equity magnate, has advocated for a minimum wage cut and made his disdain for unions a centerpiece of his campaign.
"It's critical that we not only advocate for who we think will be the best candidates for working families, but that we also make sure workers understand who is using them as scapegoats for the state's problems," Carrigan said… [Read this last sentence again! Is this an ironical and ludicrous statement?]
For this Press Release: Click Here.

"Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class struggle and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools. The social demands of unions early in the twentieth century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour day, and Social Security have been abandoned” (Chris Hedges).

A Commentary by Fred Klonsky:

The Illinois AFL-CIO, which includes the Illinois Federation of Teachers, announced their endorsements for the March primary races. The Illinois Federation, made up of member unions representing 1.5 million workers – with many members being state employees whose pensions have just been stolen, endorsed Squeezy Quinn who was a leader of the pension thieves. Even though he is running with only token opposition.

Many union members who face more than a 60% decline in their retirement earnings will not understand the endorsement by Labor of the man who claimed God told him to do it:

[“I didn’t create the problem,” Quinn said at a Chicago news conference. “But I’m here to solve it. I know that I was put on earth to get this done” (Chicago Tribune, April 20, 2012)].

I will not vote for Quinn. Ever.

But what possible excuse can AFL-CIO President Mike Carrigan give to those dues paying members who watched as Squeezy signed Senate Bill 1 only to discover that their political action donations will fund his campaign – and nobody is running against him in the Democratic Primary that could possibly win?

The Illinois Education Association is not a member of the AFL-CIO. IEA members will be watching closely to see if IPACE, our political action committee, will make a similar endorsement.

I know I write for many who oppose a Quinn endorsement, both in March and November. This fiasco again points to the need for a union leadership willing to create a progressive alternative to the state’s Republican and Machine Democrats.

from John Laesch:

I talked to some friends about the endorsement session in Burr Ridge. Apparently it was a heated discussion with lots of verbal arguments. The folks in the building trades still love Quinn because he passed the capital bill. This is a clear reflection of where labor is at – division. I wonder if it was like this during the first death blows dealt to manufacturing unions post NAFTA – did the public sector and building trades wish to carry on endorsing democrats despite the fact that their brothers and sisters had just suffered a heavy ax blow at the hand of Bill Clinton?

I am convinced that we in the building trades will be the last unions to go, but they too will go. The low-end wage earners in the service sector, and heavily Latino unions seem to be the only unions having any success as they fight for wages better than $8.25.

I have tried over the last few years convincing my fellow brothers in the carpenters union and other building trades members that what is happening to public sector unions is bound to happen to us sooner, not much later. To some degree, it already did. When there was a crash in the housing market, our union was forced to increase the amount of money (a full $1/hour that we worked) that we contributed to our retirement plan. And, we know that union membership is on the decline which means that fewer members are paying into the system. 

How much longer before the system becomes insolvent and some hedge fund managers come in to tell us that we have to shift over to a 401K direct contribution style plan while they cut up the profits and take a hefty percent for their “services?” Beware the crisis.

It is true that we will never get what we deserve in life, but that we get what we negotiate for, and the only way for working people to negotiate a better deal for themselves is through unity.

I think that you and I agree that “unity” is the best path forward, but that we should be unified behind something other than the lesser-of-two evils. It would be nice for the lesser of two evils crowd to recognize that even though they have chosen to tow the line “off the cliff,” that the path still takes us ALL over the cliff.

A statement from Henry Bayer, executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 in the Chicago Tribune on November 1, 2012:

“…Here in Illinois, public employees and our unions are standing up for a better future for all — and citizens are joining us... When Gov. Pat Quinn set out to slash jobs and vital services while demonizing public workers, their pay and their pensions, he soon found himself among the least popular governors in the nation…”


  1. Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan is a mealymouthed traitor. This endorsement is just an attempt to put another nail in the coffin of the worker. WORKERS UNITE AND RISE UP BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!!

  2. Corruption
    AFL-CIO IL Endorsements

  3. By endorsing Quinn, Carrigan's message to union members and their families is that the working man and woman of this state no longer matter to union leaders. And even though Quinn advocates support of SB1 which illegally steals one-third of a retiree's income, apparently Carrigan and other labor leaders have no problem with this since apparently this will not adversely impact them and their own families

  4. "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last."
    - Winston Churchill

  5. To answer a question asked of me in several emails:

    I cannot vote for either Quinn or a republican candidate. I am angry at the union leadership for not financing and supporting an alternative candidate like Ralph Martire. It appears evident there was no foresight on this matter regarding the gubernatorial race.