Union Bill Fails — Rauner Declares Victory

Sep 3, 2015

Gov.Bruce Rauner declared victory Wednesday in a key battle against government labor unions and the Democratic Party.

AFSCME and other state employee unions have had a rough time in contract negotiations with the Rauner administration. So they backed legislation that would let an arbitrator decide the contract if the union and governor couldn't come to an agreement.

The governor vetoed that legislation, and Democrats in the House tried — and failed — to override him.

Rauner and like-minded Republicans, like Representative Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, say unions are asking for more than Illinois can afford.

"Some of you are going to be winners, and some of you are going to be losers," Ives said during debate. "And what you're going to lose is your livelihood, because there's no other way to pay for this."

In a statement, Rauner thanked lawmakers who "stood with taxpayers."

House Speaker Michael Madigan, right, speaks with reporters after the House failed to override the governor's veto of a union-backed bill.
Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS

But House Speaker Michael Madigan had a different take: "This will be a significant step by the governor in what I would fear will be an effort to bring down wages and standard of living."

Madigan says he had just enough votes lined up — but one Democrat, Rep. Ken Dunkin of Chicago — didn't show up.