SPRINGFIELD – More than 8,000 Illinoisans rallied in Springfield today to call on Governor Bruce Rauner and his allies to drop their extreme demands and make Illinois work for all.
“Governor Rauner doesn’t care about the hundreds of thousands of people – seniors, students, parents, veterans – who are struggling as never before because of his destructive policies – policies focused first and foremost on destroying the labor movement in our state,” said IWT Co-Chair and Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan. “All of this devastation is due to one man—a mega-millionaire who thinks his huge wealth means he should be able to impose his will on an entire state. Governor Rauner is determined to ram through his extreme and harmful agenda–and he doesn’t care about how much damage he inflicts in the process.”
With the state approaching a full year without a budget, working families in Illinois are feeling the effects of Governor Rauner’s refusal to abandon his toxic agenda. Public colleges and universities statewide have announced layoffs, social service agencies are shutting down, construction projects have stalled, and businesses are owed billions for goods and services provided to the state. Rauner is pushing policies that will lower the quality of life for all Illinoisans, especially those who depend on a weekly paycheck.
“The Turnaround Agenda would diminish wages, destroy worker protections, and completely wipe out what is left of the middle class here in Illinois. Governor Rauner, we are calling on you to end the devastating crisis you created,” said IWT Co-Chair and Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez. “It’s time to create an Illinois that works for all – for our students, seniors, state employees, tradesmen and women, and all workers struggling to provide for their families.”
Speakers at the rally included everyday Illinoisans who are already suffering the consequences of the Rauner agenda, including students, seniors, tradesmen and women, and state employees.
“Every day I see firsthand the harm the governor is causing,” said JoAnn Washington-Murry, a Child Welfare Specialist from Chicago. “Because the Governor is holding the budget hostage, treatment programs have had to scale back or shut down. That hurts children and families, because if parents can’t get help to turn their lives around, my only choice is to keep that child in foster care.”
“If we didn’t have a strong workers’ compensation law in Illinois, my family and I would have lost everything,” said Christopher, IL construction worker Amy Fasig, who was severely injured on the job in 2012. “We would have been responsible for millions in medical bills. If we let wealthy politicians and huge corporations lead Illinois in a race to the bottom, workers and their families will lose even more.”
“Because of Governor Rauner – and his friends in the General Assembly – we’ve seen cuts at schools all over,” said University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student Stephanie Skora. “Chicago State, Eastern, Western, Urbana-Champaign, and others are cutting staff and programs – jeopardizing my future and the future of my peers.”
The rally was organized by Illinois Working Together and was endorsed by Action Now, the Alliance for Community Services, Arise Chicago, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the Chicago Jobs Council, Chicago Jobs with Justice, Citizen Action/Illinois, Faith Coalition for the Common Good, Grassroots Collaborative, ICIRR, the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Illinois Main Street Alliance, NAACP Illinois State Conference, ONE Northside, Quad Cities Interfaith, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, SOAR (Steelworker Retirees), and The Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Illinois Working Together is a coalition defending all working families from anti-worker attacks. Illinois Working Together believes that Governor Rauner’s wrong priorities seek to harm hardworking families and communities throughout Illinois while protecting the wealthiest.
Photos from the event can be found here.