Springfield, IL (PAI) – In the latest phase of his continuing war on workers and unions, right wing Gov. Bruce Rauner, R-IL, vetoed four pro-worker laws – including two raising the minimum wage for some of the lowest-paid workers in the state. And he blasted the Service Employees’ Illinois affiliate, by name, for pushing those two through the legislature.
Rauner’s actions came just before lawmakers, minus one GOP leader who had to quit over a scandal, re-convened for the “veto session,” where they get a chance to override his decisions. The Democratic-run legislature is just short of veto-proof majorities.
Rauner’s actions are part of a nationwide campaign, pushed by big business and implemented by Republican governors and legislatures, to trash workers and unions, cut wages and eliminate worker protections.
But Rauner has carried his anti-union drive to an extreme by leaving the state without a budget for an entire year, as he tried to use the budget to destroy AFSCME Council 31 and its state and local worker members, and to let local cities and towns enact so-called right to work ordinances, too. He’s refusing to bargain with the council. The local RTW ordinances flopped.
Before that, Rauner’s attempt to enact a statewide RTW law lost in the state Assembly the year before, 71-0. All the Democrats present voted against it as did one Republican. The
Now, Rauner vetoed measures to raise the pay of the Department of Aging’s community care homemakers over the next four years, to increase training and state health insurance payments for child care providers, and to immediately raise the hourly pay for personal assistants to people with disabilities from $13 to $15. He blasted SEIU for pushing the last two.
The governor also used his line-item veto to emasculate a bill raising the prevailing wage for construction workers on locally funded contracts. Rauner claimed that measure, SB2964, “would fundamentally change the law to delegate the rate-setting responsibility to labor organizations and to eliminate local government involvement.”
Rauner’s vetoes did not surprise SEIU, or pro-worker lawmakers, who vowed to override them.
And state SEIU President Keith Kelleher linked Rauner’s vetoes to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Rauner, a former investment firm CEO, was one of the few prominent Republican elected officials to attend the GOP convention in Cleveland and endorse the controversial business mogul.
“With the vetoes of legislation protecting child care and home healthcare for people with
disabilities and seniors, Gov. Rauner continues the Republican war on working women, African-Americans and Latinos who depend on these programs to be in the workforce,” Kelleher said.
“Rauner also is forcing seniors and people with disabilities into more expensive institutionalization. As we have seen, Rauner’s draconian rules changes mean 55,000 fewer children receive child care and with his overtime policies, thousands of people with disabilities are in a nightmare period scrambling to find care. It’s up to our legislative allies now to stand up to this governor and try to repair what Rauner is ripping apart.
“What we saw at Donald Trump’s convention this week was a blur of intolerance and division. These vetoes show Bruce Rauner is bringing the spirit of Cleveland home to Illinois,” he concluded.