Time for Public-Union Temper Tantrums; Labor Whines as Overextended State Tightens the Purse Strings

Article excerpt


Another day, another union up- rising. This time, Illinois' government unions are up in arms about raises they were supposed to receive on July 1. But don't be fooled - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn isn't joining the ranks of the governors of New Jersey, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Earlier this month Mr. Quinn, a Democrat, announced that his administration would not fund the next round of pay raises for tens of thousands of unionized state employees. July 1 was set to be the third - yes, third - round of raises for state workers over the past seven months - with more scheduled in 2012.

Mr. Quinn, a liberal who campaigned on the line early to bed, early to rise, work like hell to organize, hasn't suddenly woken up to the problem of out-of-control government compensation. Rather, he simply wasn't given the $75 million needed for the raises. Although the Illinois General Assembly passed a record budget this year, legislators funded programs and government employee pensions instead of pay raises.

Expectedly, the union brass reacted with fury, stating Mr. Quinn had sunk lower than Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both Republicans who recently have overseen implementation of sweeping changes to public-sector unionization rules in their states.

This temper tantrum comes less than a year after the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) endorsed Mr. Quinn for re-election in his gubernatorial campaign and sent more than $500,000 into his election coffers. A few days after the fall endorsement, the governor inked a no-layoff, no-facility-closure deal with the union. As part of that deal, the unions accepted delays to their pay-hike schedule to give the governor some breathing room in the budget.

AFSCME has said it has an inviolable deal with the government. Make no mistake - the union's reason for existence is to squeeze as much as possible from taxpayers for union members. And they're usually slick communicators with strong allies in the press.

But the union's strident demands are coming back to bite them. …