Mention in Illinois the names of the anti-union governors of Indiana and Wisconsin – Scott Walker and Mitch Daniels – and, well, just start watching, listening and counting.
When the Wisconsin and Indiana governors separately ventured into Illinois April 17 and 19 for pre-arranged speaking engagements in Springfield (Walker to business leaders) and Champaign (Daniels to Republican leaders) almost 10,000 union members and supporters in total at both locations showed up to demonstrate their displeasure.
They unfurled union banners, set up 20-foot inflatable rats and displayed signs proclaiming, “union buster.”
Both demonstrations were organized, in part, by the UTU’s Illinois State Legislative Office, Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy and the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund.
In Wisconsin, Walker was an architect of legislation to curtail collective bargaining rights and weaken the organizing abilities of labor unions. He also rejected federal funds to build high-speed rail in Wisconsin, which cost Wisconsin hundreds of jobs. Because of grass roots efforts in Wisconsin by organized labor and its friends – funded in part by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund — Walker faces a recall election in June.
In Indiana, Daniels supported the recent passage by the state legislature of right-to-work (for less) legislation.
“Illinois UTU members were thrilled about the opportunity to gather with our brothers and sisters of labor to protest the appearance of governors who care more about business interests than the working families,” Guy said. “We sent strong messages to the two anti-union governors, as well as our Illinois lawmakers, that attacks on collective bargaining rights won’t work in Illinois.”
The Champaign rally included a workshop on the negative impact of right-to-work (for less) legislation on collective bargaining, and guidance on how union members should communicate the issue to their communities and fellow workers.
INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed into law right-to-work (for less) legislation in Indiana that prohibits union-shop agreements and prohibits union contracts that require those who decline to join a union from paying any fees for representation – essentially encouraging free riders and severely damaging the financial ability of unions to serve members.
Contracts covered by the Railway Labor Act are not affected; but union contracts covering bus and local transit workers are.
Indiana becomes the first manufacturing state in the Midwest to have such a law, which is more common in the South. Twenty-three states have right-to-work (for less) legislation.
The Indiana AFL-CIO said, in a statement, that the Republican majority in Indiana has “set our state upon a path that will lead to lower wages for all working Hoosiers, less safety at work, and less dignity and security in old age or ill health. Sadly, the passage of this bill not only means that workers’ rights and ability to collectively bargain will be significantly weakened, it means that strong arm tactics, misinformation and big money have won at the Indiana Statehouse.”
Anti-union legislation signed into law by Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich last year was repealed in a voter referendum supported by the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and union members throughout Ohio. That law sought to restrict collective bargaining rights.
In Wisconsin, there was a successful recall of two senators who supported legislation to curtail collective bargaining rights, and a recall of Gov. Scott Walker, an architect of the legislation, is underway.
It is expected that a voter referendum will be launched in Indiana to repeal the right-to-work (for less) law, and the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund will participate in that effort.
To learn more about the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund, click on the following link: