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Government Via Conference Call; Labor Phones It In

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A task force created by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to figure out how to reduce the number of local governments in the state. That group Thursday voted to recommend restrictions on organized labor. Members listening in via conference call heard an unexpected interlude.

The task force is made of legislators, mayors, even a library trustee. During the meeting, they approved recommendations like to incentivize schools to consolidate, and to encourage municipalities to share equipment. Then, came this proposal "to make collective bargaining permissive, instead of mandatory."

Before they could vote, they were interrupted by the song of a banjo, then a choir singing the song "Solidarity Forever." The chorus repeats the title phrase, then goes on to say "for the union makes us strong."

The task force's chair, Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, tried to pushed on, saying "I suppose someone put us on hold, without mute…” when the song again began to play. It happened several more times, including as a coda until the call ended after Sanguinetti adjourned the meeting.

The labor movement have succeeded in making its voice heard, but that's all: The non-binding measure passed 15 to 1.

It and other approved recommendations will be included in a report due to the legislature by the end of this year.

Rauner has been unable to get his anti-union agenda, which includes legislation to minimize collective bargaining on the local level, passed the General Assembly.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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