President's Report

Fall 2014

The Illinois Governor’s election this November is about a fundamental choice for working people.

The Illinois Governor’s election this November is about a fundamental choice for working people. Do we want to elect an out-of-touch billionaire who is trying to buy his way into the governor’s mansion and dismantle the middle class? Or do we want to elect a governor who had the courage to raise taxes for infrastructure improvement, rebuilding more miles of roads than any other governor in the country.

We need to move forward in a direction that will rebuild our middle class, modernize our infrastructure for the 21 century, and protect basic rights like a living wage, health care and the right to join a union.

The labor movement has always been about raising people up, giving working men and women a voice. Since its inception, the labor movement has been about creating a middle class with hopes and dreams for a better future.

You may have heard the cliché: either you do politics or politics will do you. Unfortunately, what we gain at the bargaining table can very easily be lost in the halls of government. We as a labor movement need to take an aggressive role in the politics of Illinois to ensure that we do not suffer the same fate as our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri. Elections have consequences. People were stripped of their voice on the job. Workplaces made less safe. Public services outsourced and sold to the highest bidder. We do not have to be next, and we will not be next.

In the 2010 mid-term elections in Illinois, we held on to the Governor’s Mansion—but it was close. Governor Quinn won his office by 1 percent—just 30,000 votes—carrying just 3 of 102 counties. In 2010, 26 percent of all Illinois voters were from union households. That means slightly more than one out of every four voters comes from a union family. However, in 2014, we still have a significant number of union members who are not registered to vote. A lost vote from the labor movement is a vote in favor of Rauner.

We are in this together, and it is going to take a collective effort to survive this election. As we look toward November, we are building a strategy that will unify all our union brothers and sisters. We all need to understand that it is not just the Governor’s mansion that is at stake here. It’s our livelihoods; it’s our way of life. There is work to be done, and we need your help to accomplish it. Stay informed and get involved by registering to vote, following us on Facebook and Twitter and volunteering with the CFL.

Our work doesn’t end on November 4. We must be ready to keep fighting, because the forces working against us are not going to stop.