Illinois candidates, union leaders push Workers’ Rights Amendment ahead of Tuesday’s election

LT. GOV. JULIANA STRATTON (from left), State Rep. Jay Hoffman, Illinois AFL-CIO President Tim Drea and Attorney General Kwame Raoul join the Democratic rally at Steamfitters Local 439 hall in Caseyville Monday. – Labor Tribune photo


Illinois Correspondent

Crowds of union leaders, members and local residents greeted Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and most of the Democratic slate for tomorrow’s election at a rally at Steamfitters Local 439 hall in Caseyville Monday morning.

Pritzker is on a whirlwind state tour the day before Election Day with stops in Marion, Springfield, Peoria, Moline and Rockford as well as Caseyville. Pritzker was joined at Steamfitters Local 439 hall by state legislative candidate Joe Silkwood, State Reps. Katie Stuart, LaToya Greenwood and Jay Hoffman, State Sen. Chris Belt, Congressional candidate Nikki Budzinski, State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Comptroller Susana Mendoza, Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, as well as Tim Drea, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO.

ILLINOIS GOV. J.B. PRITZKER spoke with local residents, union leaders and members at a Democratic rally at Steamfitters Local 439 hall in Caseyville Monday ahead of Tuesday’s election. “It’s never been more important for people to vote,” Pritzker said. – Labor Tribune photo

Calling Republicans “a bunch of pretenders,” Pritzker vowed to defeat GOP opponent Darren Bailey as he did former Gov. Bruce Rauner four years ago, whom Pritzker called “the most anti-worker governor ever.” Pritzker brought up Bailey’s opposition to the state minimum wage and recent reports that Bailey’s Christian school teaches a pro-slavery version of history.

“He can’t get anywhere near the governor’s office,” Pritzker said.


Stuart agreed, and exhorted everyone to vote and get others to vote. “Our freedoms are on the line, our democracy is on the line, our control of our own bodies is on the line,” she said.

Mendoza denounced what she called Republican lies about the state’s finances. On the contrary, she said, the state has paid off $17 billion in unpaid bills left from the Rauner administration as of a year ago, with four years of a balanced budget. “Our oldest bill today is seven days old,” she said, and the state has more than $1 billion in reserves.


The Workers’ Rights Amendment will be good for the state economy, she said, despite GOP fears to the contrary. “As the woman who manages the state’s money,” she said, it boosts the economy to raise wages and put more money in working families’ pockets as they will then have money for groceries, and restaurants and other purchases that flow back into the economy.

“Amendment 1 is the difference between you working hard to make sure your boss can send his kids to the best colleges, and you sending your own kids to college,” she said. “Every inch of this state is a pro-union worker state and we will have your back.”

All the speakers supported the Workers’ Rights Amendment, which would make the right to bargain part of the state constitution and requires a 60 percent majority to pass.

“We’re gonna say that Illinois will never be a so-called  ‘right-to-work’ state!” Hoffman declared to loud cheers.


Raoul pointed out the attacks on human rights taking place around the country. “We respect the right of a woman to make her own decisions,” he said. “Democracy is on the ballot… the rights of women to be equal are on the ballot.”


Several speakers referred to the fake newspapers that appeared in thousands of Illinois mailboxes this weekend, including the Metro East Sun. Filled with far-right talking points, the Sun and similar fake newspapers are affiliated with right-wing political activist groups and have been investigated for skirting campaign finance laws by making its rhetoric look like a newspaper, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.

“We’re not subscribing to fake newspaper articles,” Greenwood said. “We’re talking about what Democrats have done to move our state forward.”


Pritzker underlined the work that has been done by the all-Democrat state leadership, from economic recovery to surviving COVID to tax relief for working-class people, raising teacher salaries and more.

“While they peddle their lies in fake newspapers… we are protecting working families,” Pritzker said. “Which party did all this? Democrats.”

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE NIKKI BUDZINSKI said if elected, she would be the first woman elected to Congress from central Illinois. “There is so much at stake for women, for working people, for our kids,” she said. Also pictured (from left) are state legislature candidate Joe Silkwood, state Reps. Katie Stuart and LaToya Greenwood, state Sen. Chris Belt and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker with his wife, Mary Kathryn Muenster. – Labor Tribune photo

Budzinski said she is “one day from flipping this seat blue.” If elected to the 13th Congressional District, Budzinski will be the first woman elected to Congress from central Illinois, she said, and called it a great honor to be on the ballot.

“There is so much at stake for women, for working people, for our kids,” she said. “It will be the honor of my lifetime to get to represent you.”

Drea pointed out that Democrats are “with their family, they’re with organized labor,” because they know who will get things moving in the right direction.

“(The Democratic legislators) have already voted to put the Workers’ Rights Amendment on the ballot, so we have to do it too,” he said. “Vote yes!”

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