Rauner vs. public unions, for school reform

Much more is available from Bruce Rauner than what he said in River Forest last Thursday, among which is a long Chicago Magazine interview from last June, in which he tells what he’s heard on a listening tour:

There’s a business owner who has operations around the Midwest, and he said… “workers comp costs five times as much in Illinois as it does in Indiana and we’ve been quietly shifting our jobs out of Illinois… and hiring in Indiana and reducing our job base in Illinois….” . . . .

. . . . I met with a young man who works in the [Illinois] Department of Transportation…. He told me a few years ago when Blagojevich through executive order forced in card-check unionizing, some of the union members came to him, basically threatened him, and said you have to sign this card or else…. He felt pressured… and signed the card. Pretty soon they pressured other people in his department. They got 51 percent to sign the card, they were unionized, and I believe he said the pay went up immediately 17 percent. And he said, in his view, the work effort has actually declined since unionization and the cost went through the roof.

Another source is a Chicago Tribune op-ed from a year ago, where he flayed public-sector unions:

The most powerful political force in Illinois today, by far, is the government employee labor unions. They have contributed mightily to our state’s budgetary and economic chaos.

The bosses of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Service Employees International Union; and the Illinois Federation of Teachers/Illinois Education Association are in virtually every legislative meeting, every budget meeting, every policy meeting in Springfield. They take their taxpayer-funded, government-collected union dues and funnel them by the tens of millions to politicians in both political parties. They use their vast membership to supply patronage workers by the thousands for political campaigns throughout the state.

A few weeks ago, he talked up education choice, as by a voucher program in a WIND-AM interview in a manner that “set himself apart from his GOP competitors” in the race for the governor nomination,” tying together

the issue of education choice with . . . criticism of teacher’s union bosses when asked . . . by Joe Walsh on his WIND AM 560 radio show. How does Rauner plan to support a school voucher program with a Democrat majority in the Illinois General Assembly and strong opposition from the teacher’s unions?

Rauner replied: I believe we can get it done in Illinois because there’s a significant number of parents around the state who want school choice. I’ve met with African-American leaders, Latino leaders who tend to vote Democratic, who want and encourage vouchers and have school choice.

He told in this interview of how he

formed a PAC four years ago, and got a piece of legislation drafted, that took away tenure for ineffective teachers, took away the teachers’ ability to strike in Illinois because its a nuclear bomb on our taxpayers, and it’s a public safety issue for kids, and put in a rigorous school accountability system.

. . . the bill [was] drafted, it was pending in the legislature, Madigan, Daley – it [has] bi-partisan support, and we lost most of the bill. And you know who fought us the hardest in the legislature in the end when it got killed? Republicans in the legislature who take teacher union money.

An interesting candidate.

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