Wednesday, May 18, 2016 05:43 PM
Democratic senators and representatives joined working families from across the state today to rally in support of workers’ rights and a state budget that will work for all Illinoisans.
In addition to firefighters, teachers, home health professionals and child care workers filling the lawn of the Capitol, representatives from social service advocacy groups such as Citizen Action/Illinois, Faith Coalition for the Common Good, NAACP Illinois State Conference and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law joined the crowd of more than 10,000.
A state budget to fund social services, education, health care and infrastructure doesn’t simply serve the users of those services. It provides income for the thousands of workers who provide those services and their families, and improves the state’s economy and quality of life.
Labor leaders, workers and state lawmakers, including Senate President John Cullerton, addressed the crowd.
"I want you to know the Illinois Senate Democrats support labor unions in Illinois, we think you do a good job,” Cullerton said. “Because of you, the people in Illinois make more money than people do in non-union states. We think that’s a good thing.”
Workers spoke at the event about the importance of funding state agencies and their providers: if DCFS workers’ caseloads are too high, children are in danger; workers’ compensation protects an injured worker and her family when she becomes disabled; and a prevailing wage ensures well-made roads, bridges and schools for the public.
Earlier this week, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure that would protect state workers in labor negotiations. House Bill 580 sponsored by Senator Don Harmon would have ensured state facilities and services would not be shut down because of difficult labor contract negotiations.
Rally organizers Illinois Working Together are working to support pro-worker issues so that Illinois’ working families can afford homes, health care and education for their children in growing, thriving communities.