The relationship between unions and former Speaker Michael J. Madigan was forged through decades of battling the enemies of unions and coming together to make a better life for workers both on the job and off, Illinois AFL-CIO leaders said.
“Speaker Michael Madigan is a giant in the eyes of the Labor Movement,” President Tim Drea said. “When our enemies came to destroy us, he stood with us and guarded the door. It is an understatement, but his footprint on improving the lives of everyday workers will be felt for a long time.”
Madigan has served in the House since 1971 and had been Speaker of the House since 1983, except for 1995-96, when the GOP held the majority.
While the list of Madigan’s Labor accomplishments is long, he will perhaps be most recently and fondly remembered by union members for standing up to Bruce Rauner during his single term as governor.
Rauner made “right-to-work” and destroying unions a centerpiece of his agenda and held the state budget hostage for more than two years trying to force Democrats to abandon unions. Madigan held the Democratic majority together during the brutal standoff.
“There aren’t enough words to describe what Speaker Madigan has meant to workers,” said Pay Devaney, secretary-treasurer of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “He will be missed, not only for his leadership which is well-documented, but for his advocacy of the working class.”