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Union Reaction To Rauner's Local 'Right To Work' Option


Governor Bruce Rauner says workers shouldn't be forced to join a union. The Republican disclosed his right-to-work proposal yesterday during a speech in Decatur, a city with deep union roots. 

During his bid for governor, Rauner said that he's not anti-union.

He's says he's anti "government union bosses,"  who he blames for giving Illinois' previous Democratic governors big campaign checks, as down payments for favorable deals. He calls it a corrupt bargain.

"The taxpayers on the outside. It's a conflict of interest. It's a closed loop. This is what's going on. Big problem. And it's driving up our bureaucracy and jobs are leaving. It's that closed loop up that; it's what going on: the unions that contract with the state. I think it's the number one conflict of interest in our state today."

Rauner says prevailing wage and Project Labor Agreements drive up costs. And while he says he doesn't want to make Illinois a right-to-work state across the board, he says that should happen locally.

Sean Stott is part of the Laborer's International Union. He says labor was willing to give Rauner the benefit of the doubt.

"It's taken him less than two weeks to show his true colors."

Scott says Rauner's ideas will drive down wages and lead to a loss of jobs, and not just for union members.

Jesse Sharkey heads the Chicago Teachers Union.

"I think this idea of having union-free zones is nothing more than a wedge. It’s an attempt to undo the rights of working people in the state."

Sharkey also responded to one of Rauner’s criticisms that unions can buy influence.

Rauner says it’s a conflict for unions to donate to candidates with whom they bargain their contracts.

Sharkey says if Rauner wants to limit money in politics - he should start with individuals in business, like himself.

Along with the right-to-work proposal, Rauner also made his case for expanding the state's taxes for services like tailoring, haircuts and oil changes.

"The best way to grow an economy is to have a broad base for taxes and low rates. We have a narrow base and high rates. That's counterproductive to economic growth."

Currently, the state only taxes goods and not services.

Editor's Note: Amanda Vinicky, Hannah Meisel, and Tony Arnold contributed to this story.