Totsie Bailey, executive-secretary treasurer of the Southwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council, has a message for union members
By CARL GREEN
Collinsville IL – Totsie Bailey, executive-secretary treasurer of the Southwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council, has a message to union locals and members in Illinois: It’s time to stand up for the Project Labor Agreement, which makes sure union workers get top projects and that those projects are completed in good shape.
He sent out a list last week of all the PLA projects that have come under the Southwestern Illinois Building & Trades Council since the PLA was introduced more than 20 years ago.
The list has 1,209 projects, all of which have paid fair wages and produced good results.
“Tell your members that without our Democratic Party friends and political support, we would not have secured 1,209 projects using our local building trades’ PLA,” he said in a message accompanying the list. “Nowhere in the country can beat it, but we are losing that and destroying the best tool we have – our politicians.
“We are the best craftsmen, but without political friends, it will go away in a heartbeat.”
Southwestern Illinois, he said, has switched from majority “red” to “blue” over the past eight years, with help from union votes.
“Unions are only 10 percent of the nation’s workforce, but when we vote together, we can’t be beat,” he added. “We have major elections coming in 2022 and 2024 that will decide if we survive or not.”
The biggest provider of projects is not on the list – the state of Illinois under Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, with 467 projects, compared to zero from the state under the previous Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, Bailey noted.
The list has both large and small projects and runs to 107 pages long. So here is a small sample of it – the numbers of projects from public bodies that have made the most use of PLA in the Metro-East:
- SIU Edwardsville – 339
- Madison County – 107
- Collinsville – 105
- Edwardsville – 93
- Belleville – 61
- Madison County Transit – 44
- Belleville high schools – 42
- Fairmount City – 28
- Roxana schools – 23
- Southwestern Illinois College – 22
- Mid-America Airport – 21
- Alton – 18
- Menard Correctional Center, Chester – 18
- St. Clair County Housing Authority –16
- Roxana – 15
- Lewis & Clark College – 14
- Hartford – 14
- Granite City schools – 13
- Edwardsville schools – 12
- Wood River – 11
- Collinsville schools – 10
- America’s Port, Granite City – 12
- Alton schools – 5