Is Illinois Government Too Unionized?

Hundreds of state employees could be removed from labor unions under a measure advancing in the Illinois Senate. Backers say so many high-ranking state officials are unionized, it’s preventing the smooth operation of state government. Brian Mackey has more:

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Robb Craddock, who works in the administration of Governor Pat Quinn, says Illinois leads the nation in the number of unionized state employees.
There are budget officers, human resource specialists, and high-level attorneys — close to 96 percent of the workforce, he says, and rising.

CRADDOCK: “For example, the Jacksonville Developmental Center has one non-union employee in its entire facility.”

Craddock blamed the previous governor for driving people to seek the protection of a union.

CRADDOCK: “The Blagojevich administration didn’t compensate appropriately, scared people out of their jobs in many cases, and didn’t listen very well.”

But labor unions say that’s precisely why the employees should be allowed to stay put. Henry Bayer is with AFSCME, Illinois’ largest government-employee union.

BAYER: “I think that’s it’s a good thing that people are properly paid, not mistreated, and that they’re listened to.”

The measure, Senate Bill 1556, narrowly passed the House one year ago today. It was finally approved last night by a Senate committee, and now goes before the full Senate.

Brian Mackey

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