Honor the sacrifices of men and women who built this nation
By Michael T. Carrigan
On Labor Day, we honored the sacrifices of the working women and men who built this nation.
Not only did they work, they fought for the dignity of the worker. Their battles for fair wages and working conditions were sometimes long, sometimes bloody, sometimes lost, sometimes won, always worthy.
Workers understood then, as we see now, that only by standing together and struggling together could a mere worker be able to protect their family and their futures. Only working as a fair partner could the economy grow to benefit everyone-not just the privileged few.
ROLE OF THE WORKER
In Illinois, we are once again having the great debate about the role of the worker in society and the corresponding role of excessive wealth.
Will we allow a billionaire who earned much of his fortune at the expense of American workers to buy this election? Or will we re-elect a Governor who will stand with workers?
Illinois AFL-CIO has endorsed, and as an organization we stand with, Governor Pat Quinn.
Under Governor Quinn's leadership, Illinois' economy is making a comeback. Just this month, Illinois's unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in six years, and more men and women are working in our state today than the first month of the Governor's Administration. Ford Motor Company went from one shift to three shifts in recent years while Chrysler went from 200 jobs to more than 4,500 jobs.
And as our economy gains momentum, we're doing so in a way that protects our workers with high-quality jobs. Illinois has one of the highest wages in the nation, and Governor Quinn is fighting to raise the minimum wage to help workers and working families.
And to the fundamental questions we face – of the rights of the worker to bargain collectively, be fairly compensated for their work and be safe in their workplace – Governor Quinn is on the side of the worker.
SUPPORT THE HOUSE OF LABOR
Gov. Quinn supports the house of labor in Illinois, while billionaire Bruce Rauner would be a wrecking ball to its very foundation.
The Republican nominee for governor has run an excessively secretive campaign, but we have seen enough to know that he poses a grave threat and is a real danger to every single worker and wage-earner in this state.
In the interest of profit, Mr. Rauner has shipped jobs to countries where workers have zero protections, and where the use of child labor is prevalent, countries such as India, China and the Philippines. He proposed a cut in the minimum wage several months ago. He has no record protecting the rights of workers and the dignity of labor - he has stated that unions of working men and women are the problem and that teachers are overpaid. His heroes include Scott Walker, who ended eight decades of labor peace in Wisconsin and slashed public education. He brags behind closed doors that he will shut down state government once he's elected.
The last thing Illinois needs is that kind of radical approach to governing.
Let's honor Illinois workers and acknowledge the progress our economy is making under Governor Quinn.
Election Day will be here before you know it. And