In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board about why he’s seeking reelection, Bruce Rauner made clear that his overriding goal remains crushing labor unions.
Here are some excerpts from the Tribune’s report on that meeting, along with our responses.
When Rauner was asked what would be different in a second term, he said that “…he’s counting on the courts to give him several “transformative” wins over organized labor…”
In another interview a few months ago, Rauner explained that by “transformative” he means to “change the power structure in Illinois and across the country…” further consolidating power in the hands of millionaires and billionaires like him and marginalizing the voices of working people.
According to the Tribune report, top among those legal wins he’s expecting is a June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Janus vs AFSCME Council 31 regarding public employee union Fair Share fees. Rauner initiated the suit and still refers to it as his case.
Mark Janus, a DHFS employee in Springfield is the lone plaintiff in this case—the only state employee who was willing to carry Rauner’s water all the way to the Supreme Court of the land. Rauner is out to make Fair Share fees illegal so that employees can refuse to pay any dues or fees while still benefiting from all the gains that the union makes in their workplace. It’s a scheme to try to rob unions of resources to limit what they can accomplish.
“If we win, it will transform government. It will transform state government, local government and school districts...” Rauner told the Editorial Board.
The Janus case doesn’t just affect members of AFSCME Council 31. If Janus—and Rauner—win at the Supreme Court, the ruling will be binding on every public employee in our country.
Rauner said: “I will be able to have thousands of state employees not be in the union … and I will be able to pay them based upon productivity and merit and bonuses, and pay them more based on what they do for the service quality and taxpayer benefit rather than seniority.”
Rauner’s already demonstrated how he would pay employees—and it’s certainly not based on service quality or taxpayer benefit. Instead it’s all about cronyism. Just take a look at his top staff where he raised salaries even though mistakes have abounded in the operations of his administration.
With regard to the efforts of AFSCME members to achieve a fair contract, the Tribune reminded its readers that: “Many unionized state employees have been without a new contract as Rauner attempts to impose the terms of his final offer. The union sued, and Rauner said Tuesday that labor is trying to delay the legal proceedings “and hope I lose.”
In fact, the Rauner Administration has sought numerous court continuances that have slowed down the legal proceedings. But, of course, we hope he loses. He’s trying to double employees’ health care costs, freeze their steps and wages, and eliminate all restrictions on privatization of state service. AFSCME wants to require him instead to return to the bargaining table and work to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract.