Collinsville – Dale Stewart, Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the Southwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council, says Illinois unions had better be working now for the re-election of Gov. Pat Quinn this November.
Speaking at the March meeting of the Council, Stewart said unions must overcome the lack of enthusiasm some members have for Quinn if they expect to keep their people working.
“We need to start talking to our membership today,” he said. “This is going to be a very serious election.”
COOPERATIVE ON STATE PROJECTS
Quinn’s administration has many officials who have been cooperative with union workers and leaders in carrying out state projects, Stewart said. In return, the unions have seen to it that projects are completed correctly and on schedule.
“We’ve got a good thing going, and if we don’t get out and start working right now, it’s all going to go away,” he said.
“We’ve got to wake our members up,” Stewart said. “It’s going to affect the building trades first.”
Public employee unions have not supported Quinn in his re-election bid because he agreed to a legislative compromise that reduces future cost-of-living adjustments in their pensions.
But Republican nominee Bruce Rauner has aligned himself with anti-union operators, including some coming from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.
Rauner campaigned against the public employee pensions, claiming repeatedly that “government union bosses” were behind the state’s fiscal problems, that the pension cuts should go much further and that the system should be replaced by something like a 401k plan.
Rauner has moderated his anti-union talk since winning the primary last month, telling interviewers he is not anti-union, but that’s only a ruse, Stewart said.