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HomeIllinois NewsUnion leaders, lawmakers jeer Rauner as "mega-millionaire that doesn't care"

Union leaders, lawmakers jeer Rauner as “mega-millionaire that doesn’t care”



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SPRINGFIELD – Thousands of state workers rallied at the Capitol Wednesday to demand a state budget, collective bargaining and voice their disapproval for Governor Bruce Rauner's policies union leaders labeled "anti-union."

The union workers marched along city streets to the Capitol, where House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and public sector union leaders aimed at the governor.

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House Speaker Mike Madigan at Wednesday's rally

"All of this devastation is due to one man – a mega-millionaire who thinks his huge wealth means he can impose his will on the entire state," AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan told the crowd. "He doesn't care about the damage he inflicts on those who are struggling."

Carrigan said Rauner's policies are focused first and foremost on destroying Illinois' labor movement. 

"Whether it's getting rid of prevailing wage, cutting assistance for injured workers, trampling on collective bargaining or undermining retirement security," Carrigan said as the crowd booed. "Every demand that Rauner has made is designed to weaken our rights and drive down our standard of living."

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Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) voiced his caucus' support for union workers. 

"Illinois Senate Democrats support the labor unions in Illinois. We think you do a good job. Because of you, people in Illinois make more money than in non-union states. We think that's a good thing!"


House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) gave the crowd an impression much different than the one House Minority Leader Jim Durkin reported after the leadership met to discuss the budget impasse Tuesday. Durkin told reporters he was encouraged that Madigan expressed being open to Governor Rauner's reform ideas on worker's compensation.

Wednesday, Madigan prodded the crowd. 

"I would like to ask you some questions. Governor Rauner wants to change workers comp. How do you feel about that?" 

"No!" the crowd shouted.

"How about collective bargaining? Prevailing wage? Government to lower wages? Governor to lower the standard of living? Send injured workers to the emergency room? Send injured workers into welfare?" The crowded responded "No!" each time.

Madigan then said the Governor wants to make Illinois a right to work state. The crowd yelled a resounding "No!" 

But all of the rally was preceded by a prayer by Pastor Keith Ray McDunkins, Senior Pastor of the United Baptist Church and a board member of the interfaith group "For the Common Good." 

McDunkins prayed that the governor would be in one accord with the legislature, and that the governor would learn that "Leadership means humility and not arrogance, that leadership is about public servanthood and not about pride." He also prayed that the governor would understand that "he works for us." 

He closed by asking God to strengthen them and know that "if we trust in you, through AFSCME you will bring forth fairness."

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View the march and rally at BlueroomStream


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