Sept. 3, 2012Illinois Delegation to the Democratic National ConventionCharlotte, NCFriends:As the nation pauses on this Labor Day to honor American workers, their families and the unionsthrough which workers make heard their collective voice, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn continues toadvance policies that undermine the best interests of working people, most especially publicemployees across Illinois.And as the Democratic Party gathers in Charlotte to set forth its priorities for the next four years—chief among them protecting retirement security, affordable health care and good jobs while ensuringthat the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes—Governor Quinn’s actions in ourhome state directly contradict the party’s professed values.
Destroying Good Jobs and Weakening Public Services.
Gov. Quinn is seeking to lay off some4,000 child protection workers, disability aides, correctional officers and other state employees. TheQuinn plan would jeopardize services to individuals with severe disabilities, increase violence andundermine security in state prisons, and drastically weaken the state’s ability to protect abused andneglected children. Local elected officials and concerned citizens have joined together to opposethese cuts, most of which are solely the result of Gov. Quinn’s refusal to expend money appropriatedby the Illinois General Assembly.
Breaking Union Contracts.
Even after unions representing state employees cooperated to help thestate achieve several hundred million dollars in savings, Gov. Quinn has refused to pay negotiatedwage increases owed to some 30,000 state workers. It’s wrong and unlawful for the governor to justtrample on union contracts reached in good faith. What’s at stake is the right to collective bargainingfor all public employees in Illinois. The governor is seeking to overturn the ruling of an independentarbitrator who ordered the raises to be paid and said that if Gov. Quinn has his way, “the collectivebargaining process will be … severely undermined.”
Gov. Quinn is leading the charge to drastically reduce the modest pensions earnedby teachers, caregivers, police, nurses and other public employees across Illinois. In this effort, thegovernor has promulgated falsehoods and sought to blame employees for the state’s pension debt. Inreality, the average pension is just $32,000 a year, for which most workers pay 8 to 10 percent of every check, while nearly 80% of Illinois public employees are not eligible for Social Security.
Tax Breaks for Big Corporations.
While claiming the state budget lacks funds to honor unioncontracts and provide prescription drug coverage for seniors, health insurance for working poorfamilies or modest pensions for retired public employees—all areas where he has made or pushed fordrastic cuts—Gov. Quinn has given hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to profitablecorporations such as Motorola Mobility, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Sears and Boeing. At thesame time, the Governor has criticized a proposal to help stabilize state pension funding by closingtax loopholes for big oil companies and foreign corporate profits.There is no dispute that our state faces challenges, particularly fiscal ones. On this Labor Day andthroughout this week in Charlotte, we ask that you take the opportunity to remind Governor Quinn