- Attacking the middle class will not produce prosperity. Rauner is quick to blame and vague on solutions. He points his finger squarely toward the middle class by proposing cuts to programs that assist injured and displaced workers. He blames unions for the state’s woes, failing to point out that if his right to work scheme is implemented, wages would drop significantly for all working families.
- Be wary of Rauner’s “solutions.” Rauner’s outline of the state’s financial woes point to placing a big target on programs and investments for the middle class. He is looking to undercut wages at the local level with right to work, slash workers’ compensation for the injured, defund the Unemployment Insurance fund, cut the Prevailing Wage — the local wage levels set for construction workers, and repeal Project Labor Agreements, contracts that guarantee under budget and on time public works projects for taxpayers.
- Collective bargaining lifts all working families. Rauner wants to demonize unions and call them “corrupt” but the fact remains that states with more union members have a higher standard of living — they make more money, have better benefits, less poverty and infant mortality, invest more in education and have lower workplace fatality rates. In Illinois, 32% of union members are from minority groups.
- Shared sacrifice? If undercutting wages and gutting critical economic security programs constitute shared sacrifice, then he must mean the middle class gets the pain part of the sacrifice. Rauner has highlighted no change in the corporate income tax (one of the lowest in the country right now) or closure of the any of the multitude of big business tax loopholes in the Illinois code.
Right to Work
- Right to Work is not economic development. It is economic regression. From a University of Illinois study, “When isolated and measured against other job creation variables, right to work has no proven record of stimulating meaningful economic growth. By comparison, Illinois would reap far greater benefits by increasing its investment in education and skilled-based training.”
- Right to Work destroys the middle class. According to the U of I study, Illinois workers will make 5.7 to 7.4% less if RTW is enacted here. Workers in states with right to work make nearly $6,000 less per year than other states (DOL Bureau of Labor Statistics). Poverty rates are significantly higher in RTW states — more than 20% for children (U.S. Census Bureau) and families are less likely to have health insurance in these states.
- Right to Work is a profiteering corporate strategy, not public policy. Right to Work makes it easier to cut wages, lay off workers, and outsource jobs. It can allow corporations to dissolve pensions, slash health care, and force retirement without negotiation.
- The middle class doesn’t need another obstacle. If we don’t stop anti-worker schemes like RTW, more families will fall behind.