In late March, the Rauner team drafted an anti-union resolution and forwarded it to local municipalities with a recommendation to pass the resolution as soon as possible.
The draft endorses allowing local voters to (illegally) redefine collective bargaining rights for any local unit of government (schools, parks, courts, etc.). It also endorses limits on public workers' compensation and injury claims.
Besides the fact that Rauner's plan is illegal, it is also fundamentally unfair. It does NOT place limits on corporate tax giveaways, nor does it limit the pay of executives (which is over 300 times worker pay, on average) or government consultants (e.g., Donna Arduin earns over $30,000 a month as Rauner's budget adviser).
This illustrates that Rauner's agenda is NOT to save the state money. He simply wants to make it easier for the rich to make more money at the expense of everyone else.
Rauner's proposal contradicts federal labor law. It weakens the middle class by reducing wages. It harms local business that depend on local customers. It harms schools by eliminating the unions' power to advocate for smaller classes and better trained teachers.
It appears that the Council is already prepared to pass this resolution. The discussion is listed as "Adopt the Resolution to support local government empowerment and reform legislation in the State Legislature" towards the end of the agenda, item N2.
RESOLUTION TO PROTECT THE MIDDLE CLASS
WHEREAS, the Middle Class is the backbone of our country, state and community and a vibrant Middle Class is essential to the nation’s prosperity; and
WHEREAS, the Middle Class pays the most taxes of any income bracket, spends the most money at our local businesses and drives the local economy; and
WHEREAS, in order to maintain a vibrant Middle Class we must attract and maintain jobs with family-supporting wages and benefits; and
WHEREAS the labor movement is a historic cornerstone of the American middle class and remains essential to ensuring that economic prosperity is broadly shared by all working people; and
WHEREAS, creation of right to work (for less) zones, repeal of prevailing wage requirements on construction projects and elimination of standardized subjects of bargaining would create a “race to the bottom” that would reduce the pay of our community’s workforce and, therefore, harm the local businesses dependent upon local customers; and
WHEREAS, numerous studies have shown that right to work (for less) laws lead to lower wages and benefits and more frequent workplace deaths; and
WHEREAS, the federal courts have ruled repeatedly and consistently that right to work (for less) laws are the sole jurisdiction of state and territorial governments, not local governments; and
WHEREAS, the Illinois Attorney General has recently reaffirmed the legal opinion that local governments do not have the authority to pass local right to work (for less) ordinances; and
WHEREAS, passage of a local right to work (for less) ordinance would undoubtedly generate a legal challenge that our government would have to fruitlessly defend at a significant cost to our taxpayers; and
WHEREAS, prevailing wage laws create a level playing field for local construction contractors by forcing out-of-state contractors to bid on projects based on the skill and efficiency of their workforce, not how far they can drive down wages and benefits; and
WHEREAS, by benefiting local contractors, prevailing wage laws greatly increase the likelihood that construction workers from our community will be employed on the projects that their tax dollars and those of our other tax payers fund; and
WHEREAS, local construction workers, when gainfully employed, patronize our local businesses and help create jobs in our local economy; and
WHEREAS, subjects of collective bargaining for public sector workers are defined by state law and to allow local governments to determine which subjects will be on the bargaining table for their employees would limit Middle Class workers’ ability to advocate for themselves; and
WHEREAS, a vital and accessible Workers’ Compensation system is essential to the economic security of working families hit with unexpected injury or illness; and
WHEREAS, changes to the Workers’ Compensation system that disproportionately affect older workers are unjust; and
WHEREAS, the Local Government Distributive Fund (LDGF) is essential to provide the local services the citizens of our communities need and expect; and
WHEREAS, cutting LDGF funds to local governments will result in harmful cuts in services and likely create tax increases at the local level; therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the ________ of ________ hereby stands with and supports the Middle Class residents of our county/municipality/unit of government and pledge that we will not take any action against them; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be delivered to the Governor of the State of Illinois, the President of the Illinois Senate, the Republican Leader of the Illinois Senate, the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Republican Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives.
David Carroll, Communications Chair for the Naperville Unit Education Association (contains material submitted by Julie Resh-Jelliff, Region 39 IEA-NEA UniServ Director, and Joyce Bailey, NUEA GPA).