SEIU backs Blagojevich twice, and then Quinn. Now they finally realize they’ve been had and Quinn’s in over his head. Unions should have seen this coming (again and again). They’re best friend is a growing Economy and Democrats can’t deliver.
On August 10 Gov. Pat Quinn visited Caterpillar machinists on a picket line in Joliet, donating $10,000 to a union strike fund. But Quinn offered no position on the walkout, except bromides such as “believe in yourselves” to machinists who had been on strike for more than three months.
One week later the International Association of Machinists Local 851 settled on a new contract that included a wage freeze and reduced benefits – despite the fact that Caterpillar had just turned a 67 percent second quarter profit. The agreement was generally seen as a painful loss for labor.
The relationship between Quinn and unions is shaped by a fierce dispute with public employees represented by AFSCME Council 31, a battle almost as bitter as the fight between the Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the governor’s hands-off approach to Caterpillar is arguably one example of how Quinn is an inexperienced advocate for labor.
“Quinn hits all the progressive notes, but he has never had to do anything but talk about unions before,” says Christopher Mooney a political science professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield. “He is in over his head.”