Springfield – Thousands of union members gave up their free time last fall to work on behalf of candidates who would fight for working families in the General Assembly.
But after knocking on thousands of doors, making thousands of phone calls, and mailing thousands of pieces of literature on their behalf…several of these COPE-endorsed candidates voted to strip collective bargaining rights away from union members who are given a title of “manager,” even if they have no managerial responsibilities.
“This is a core issue for all of Labor,” said Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan. “If this can be done to some, it can be done to anyone. It sets a terrible precedent. ”
With the passage of the bill, SB 1556, there is no longer a requirement that an individual be engaged in management a substantial amount of time or as a major function of their employment to qualify as a “manager,” Carrigan said.
Thus employees whose primary responsibilities are not managerial could be denied the right to collectively bargain for better working conditions.
It took the Governor’s office and his legislative supporters six times over the course of two years to pass SB 1556.
The issue developed when Gov. Pat Quinn discovered he could not replace staff in the governor’s office who were hired by former governor Rod Blagojevich. Their jobs were protected by a union contract for public employees. So Quinn promoted SB 1556 to exempt the governor’s staff from a union contract.
But the bill was revised during the legislative process to expand the right to other employers, for example construction contractors, who could be allowed to designate union foremen as managers, and automatically remove their union protections.
Labor was successful in defeating it on the floor once, however, Senate President John Cullerton (D–Chicago) brought the motion for a vote again and it passed with 31 votes. .
Those who turned their back on labor were:
Pa Althoff, Kirk Dillard, Dan Duffy, Christine Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Darin LaHood, Chris Lauzen, Matt Murphy, Carole Pankau, Christine Radogno, Dale Righter, Ron Sandack and Dave Syverson.
Annazette Collins, Maggie Crotty, Susan Garrett, Bill Haine, Don Harmon, Mattie Hunter, Emil Jones, Dave Koehler, Steve Landek, Ed Maloney, Iris Martinez, Tony Munoz, Mike Noland, Martin Sandoval, Ira Silverstein, Heather Steans, Donne Trotter and John Cullerton.