Gale Hamilton works two jobs and is going to college to better herself and help her family. But she, and millions of others like her, needs a raise. Minimum wage increase legislation in Congress that faces stiff Republican opposition is a good place to start. This morning in Springfield, Ill., she told a Give America a Raise bus tour rally:
In our regular weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.
Anders Lindall, AFSCME Council 31’s public affairs director, and Clyde Weiss, AFSCME assistant editor, send us this report.
The rights of public service workers seem to be of no consequence to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D). He’s prepared to sign a bill that allows him to deny collective bargaining rights to 3,580 state employees of his choosing, including up to 1,900 who currently have union representation. The legislation also allows the state’s other constitutional officers broad latitude to take away bargaining rights from their employees.
While government in Washington, D.C., remains divided and marked by long-term gridlock, governments in the states are much less divided. Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013. Working families are mobilized and fought back in 2012 and will continue to fight in 2013. The response to the "right to work" for less push in Michigan was so strong, that governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have since declared that they won't push for right to work in their states.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced an agreement that will enable the construction of an overhead, high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) transmission line to deliver 3,500 megawatts of renewable power from neighboring states. With a project labor agreement in place, the project will create 1,450 jobs that maintain the highest safety, diversity and wage standards.
Thousands of Illinois public employees could lose their collective bargaining rights under a bill passed by the state House last month and set for a state Senate vote June 22.
AFSCME Council 31 says the bill—S.B. 1556—would impact thousands of employees under the governor and other constitutional officers who’ve gained union rights in recent years. It changes the definitions of supervisory and managerial under state labor law.