Governor Rauner's so-called "local empowerment zones" are dishonestly packaged and fundamentally unfair. They violate state and federal law, would strip working people of basic rights and harm our state's economy. So why is he pushing for them?
All of us who breathe the air, drink the water and hope for a healthy future for our kids and grandchildren have a lot at stake in Illinois' debate over Right to Work.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's chief political backer, Ken Griffin, made $1.3 billion last year as manager of the hedge fund Citadel Capital. Griffin made as much personally as 26,000 average Americans making the median wage.
The fact that the people voters tasked with making the tough decisions are so afraid of losing their jobs that they would put the desires of a fringe "no new taxes" group ahead of the needs of their constituents suggests that the real problem here is not road or education funding but a complete and total failure of leadership.
Wisconsin -- where workers have a deep and rich history of fighting for a voice on the job -- is the latest state to enact a law intended to sap them of their power and strength. With Gov. Scott Walker's signature, the right-to-work scam is now the law in Wisconsin.
Proponents of "right to work" insist that unions, through union-security agreements, abridge the (non-existing) right to work in an anti-democratic manner that threatens business competitiveness. All these specious arguments mask a concerted campaign to strip labor of its voice in political and economic affairs.
The backlash to this incident became a turning point in the history of the US and global labor movements. But 104 years later, it has become clear that too many folks in this country have forgotten the painful lessons of that day.
Considering that studies have found a direct correlation between the number of people in labor unions and the distribution of wealth, it becomes clear that if the Republicans' goal is to build a stronger, healthier economy for all Americans, then continuing to add obstacles to organizing is the wrong approach.
You probably missed this one. After all, most news coverage told people that Governor Walker signed a "right to work" bill. This was presented as a victory for workers' rights over the power of unions. In fact, it was about denying the people of Wisconsin the freedom of contract.
Trickle-down economics doesn't work, and frankly, it never has. If we want to restore a healthy middle class, we need a different approach, a virtuous cycle that begins with a high-quality public education that gives students the skills they need to get good jobs with fair wages.
Critical thinking says if you want to earn more money, bullying your employer with a mob isn't the answer. Production is. If you want to earn more money, provide more service.
In its modern form, this is often an appeal to Libertarian individualism, unions being the antithesis, while corporations (organized capital) somehow embody individualism. It's an old trick. And falling for it only dooms one to ignore history.
The bill will more than likely pass, then get signed by Walker with multiple pens. Should I have stayed home?
The ALEC drill team was on full display this week. At Tuesday's public hearing, the only people to testify in favor of the bill were representatives of the corporations that would profit from lower wages in Wisconsin and an array of experts bankrolled by the Kochs.
Why would politicians and their billionaire backers expend so much political capital (and actual capital) attacking unions when unions in America represent a small fraction of the workforce--around 11 percent?
Moving right-to-work (for less) from the state to the county level is the latest tactic in the relentless campaign by CEOs and corporations to reverse gains made by workers in the 1930s New Deal.