Strange Bedfellows: Union, Proft Line Up against Durkin

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 24, 2017 | Go to article overview

Strange Bedfellows: Union, Proft Line Up against Durkin


Operating Engineers Union Local 150 is making good on its threat to back a Republican primary opponent against House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

The union locals president, Jim Sweeney, told me he had about a dozen members in Durkins district passing nominating petitions for Burr Ridge Mayor Mickey Straub a couple of weekends ago. Sweeney said he expected to double that number the following weekend.

Challenging a legislative leader in a primary is just not done. But these are not normal times.

Local 150 led the fight against Bruce Rauner in the 2014 Republican primary and then backed a Libertarian Party candidate against him that fall.

The unions leadership has fumed as Rauner has pushed his anti-union agenda, and now wants some payback on Durkin for helping to kill their bill to ban the creation of "right to work" zones by local governments. The governor vetoed the bill and the union tried twice to override Rauner without success, mainly because Durkin was able to keep his caucus together.

Since the union blames Durkin theyll ally themselves with anybody, including Republican activist Dan Proft, if they have to. Proft is backing Straub against Durkin, who he claims isnt fit to be Leader. But Proft is not exactly known for being a big union supporter.

In fact, according to the Daily Law Bulletin, Proft co-founded the Liberty Justice Center, which, irony of ironies, is representing suburban Lincolnshire against a lawsuit backed by Local 150 over the villages creation of a local right to work zone the very event that Local 150s vetoed bill tried to outlaw.

Dont try to wrap your mind around all that, youll go nuts. This fight is beyond ideology. Sweeney and Proft have a common cause messing with Durkin and theyre sticking with that.

Leader Durkin, for his part, took the diplomatic high road, releasing a statement saying: "Our caucus has worked with Local 150 in the past and will continue to work with them, where we can, in the future. …

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