Rauner Raises Unions' Ire With Right-To-Work Plan

Jan 27, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner says there's a "corrupt bargain" between unions and politicians; he singles out Gov. Pat Quinn for getting campaign contributions from labor, then working out deals that Rauner says advantaged unions. One labor leader called the "corrupt bargain" notion illegal, and questioned if Rauner's beholden to the businessmen who've put millions of dollars into his campaign fund.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Gov. Bruce Rauner amped up his anti-union rhetoric Tuesday at a speech in Decatur, a city with deep labor roots.  The Republican bemoaned prevailing wage  requirements on public projects for costing the state extra, said Project Labor Agreements are synonymous with "uncompetitive bidding" and introduced a plan to create local right-to-work zones.  

Unions are on edge about what Rauner has in store for them. He has railed against “government union bosses,” and names Indiana's former Gov. Mitch Daniels as a political role model. It's Daniels who made Indiana a right-to-work state.

Rauner says that's not his plan for Illinois.

"I'm not advocating that Illinois become a right-to-work state. I do not advocate that. But I do advocate local governments, local voters, being able to decide for themselves whether to be right-to-work areas, right-to-work zones," the governor said.

Rauner says it would be a tool for communities suffering from high unemployment to create jobs, "so that we can compete with Indiana, and Michigan and Tennessee and Texas, that don't have forced unionization like we do here."

But unions are powerful in Illinois, and Democrats, who control the General Assembly, are sure to fight back.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on labor, economy: Jan. 27, 2015