President's Report

Issue 1 2018

March 20, 2018. If this date is not already on your calendar, it should be.

Issue 1 2018


March 20, 2018. If this date is not already on your calendar, it should be. This is Primary Election day here in Illinois. Between now and then, voters across our state will determine which candidates from each party will face off in November. If you read my column each issue, you know that I continually reiterate the saying that elections have consequences. Unfortunately, since 2015, we have experienced firsthand the ramifications of not electing officials that share our values.

Four years ago, the people of Illinois elected an antiunion, corporate CEO to be the governor of our state. Once Rauner took office, labor was on the defensive. We were running around the state to push back against attacks at the municipal levels while also fighting for a budget that funds our state’s greatest needs—social services, education and state agencies.

Since President Trump took office in January 2017, the labor movement has also fought back on many fronts because Trump’s policies hurt working families. For example, his administration ended the Obama administration’s expansion of federal overtime rules that would have made an additional 4 million workers eligible for overtime.

We have the opportunity to make a change. But victory will not be given to us, it will be earned. For the March primary, the Chicago Federation of Labor endorsed candidates who understand the issues important to working families. The CFL’s endorsement process is exhaustive, and it starts with the completion of a questionnaire with over 40 questions on labor-centric issues. Then candidates are brought in for screenings with a committee comprised of various CFL-affiliated unions. After deliberations, our COPE body democratically decides on who the best candidate is for labor. We go through this process for our local candidates and take part in the Illinois AFLCIO’s process for statewide candidates.

Through the Illinois AFL-CIO’s process, the CFL supported the endorsements of JB Pritzker for Governor and Kwame Raoul for Attorney General. JB is committed to working hand-in-hand with labor to raise the minimum wage, fight worker misclassification and wage theft, support equal pay for men and women, strengthen project labor agreements, and fight back anything or anyone that tries to lower workers’ wages. Kwame supports moving the state to a progressive income tax structure and going after businesses who break prevailing wage, minimum wage and wage theft laws.

Just as it is important to vote for JB and Kwame for Governor and Attorney General, respectively, it is important for all of us to vote down the ballet for offices like Cook County Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and Subcircuit judges. Each level of government impacts our day-to-day lives. On pages 10 and 11 of this magazine, you will find the CFL’s complete list of endorsed candidates. I encourage you to make copies for your family members and to bring this with you to your polling places.

Today, I urge you to make a plan to go vote. Then talk to your family members about their plans to vote. You have until March 20 to make your voice heard. Early voting runs through March 19 and the deadline to vote by mail is March 15. If you want more information on either of these options, visit our website at