Unions in Depressed Illinois Rally Against Mitch Daniels, Right-to-Work

Unions in Depressed Illinois Rally Against Mitch Daniels, Right-to-Work

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was in Champaign, Illinois today to speak at the Champaign County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Daniels is not very popular with labor unions because he signed the “right to work” law in his state, which bans unions from collecting mandatory fees for union representation.

About thirty busloads of labor union members from all parts of the state–and beyond–came to the parking lot of the University of Illinois Assembly Hall to protest against Daniels and the right to work law–and make it clear that “anti-union” legislation is not welcome in Illinois. 

“The Right to Work Won’t Work in Illinois” Facebook page states that the groups behind it are “committed to fighting for workers’ rights and maintaining collective bargaining rights.” They are also not very fond of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. 

Gov. Walker was in Springfield Illinois on Tuesday to speak to business leaders, and one of the main points of several speakers at today’s gathering was how well they managed to stick it to Walker on that occasion. An estimated 3500 union protesters had been in attendance for that event, much the same as today’s gathering.

There were several speeches by union leaders from Indiana and Illinois. The president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Michael Carrigan, proclaimed that he was “proud to be in Springfield to welcome that scurrilous rat from Wisconsin, and I’m proud to be here to welcome that scurrilous rat from Indiana.” The crowd loved that. 

In fact, rats were a big theme for several protestors. There were signs with pictures of rats, and even a giant inflatable rat with a “Shame on Mitch” sign plastered across its stomach. 

Two participants were happy to pose for a picture to show off their signs, which read: “I just took a Mitch and wiped my Daniels” (complete with hand-drawn toilet paper roll) and “MITCH – Miserable Indiana Teabagging Corporate wHore”. Whore didn’t quite fit, but somehow they had managed to work it in anyway.

The crowd got really excited when one of the speakers reminded them that Champaign was pleased to have had the opportunity to host the runaway members of Indiana’s Democratic legislature last year. Remember when they flew the coop and were later spotted across the border in Illinois? They were here “working” in the Comfort Inn and Suites. Not to mention enjoying the free breakfast buffet and heated swimming pool.
The demonstrators remained peaceful as they marched the two blocks to the hotel where Daniels was set to speak. They were not permitted to be on the property of the hotel, so they stayed behind the barricades, holding their protest signs while Gov. Daniels was inside speaking. The organizers seemed to have accomplished what they set out to do, making it clear that the unions in Illinois were not going down the same path as their brothers in Indiana. As one speaker put it, they intended to make sure their members were registered to vote, that they voted, and that they voted right.


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