Springfield, IL – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker expressed his gratitude to Organized Labor on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic during a virtual meeting with the Illinois AFL-CIO executive board April 14, but cautioned that the situation isn’t going to be going away soon.
“I’m grateful every day that folks are going to work as essential workers supporting our first responders,” Pritzker said. “The priority is the health and safety of all Illinoisans and we focus on working families in everything we do.”
Pritzker said staying ahead of the virus has taken a universal effort – but cautioned that more will be asked.
“We’ve had to extend the restrictions (to April 30) and very likely there will be restrictions after that,” Pritzker said, adding “we have to stick to it. This virus isn’t going away soon.”
CRISIS HAS SHOWN THE NEED FOR UNIONS
Pritzker said work of union contractor Walsh Construction converting a portion of Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center into an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients was inspiring. He also lauded the everyday heroism exhibited by workers in Illinois combatting the crisis.
“I have to thank the workers at McCormick Place. I felt a wave of patriotism when I walked through,” said Pritzker. “Honestly, I was blown away. This crisis has shown the need of our local unions for the safety and security of Illinois.”
Senate President Don Harmon and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan echoed Pritzker, saying the legislature was preparing to take the critical next steps toward economic development and putting people back to work.
“We support the executive actions and we are preparing for recovery,” said Harmon, who has created multiple State Senate working groups to prepare crucial legislation when the body reconvenes. “We need to prepare a legislative agenda to put people back to work.”