Two Crucial Meetings This Week

Important notes from NTDO Chair Dianne McGuire, about Tuesday’s Naperville City Council meeting (7pm, Naperville Muni Center) and Thursday’s NTDO Community Forum (7:30pm, Naperville Muni Center):

Two events are on the horizon for Naperville Township Democrats, both of which will be occurring next week.

n-BRUCE-RAUNER-large570The first is an event occurring on Tuesday, April 21 at 7 PM at the Naperville Municipal Center. On the agenda for the Naperville City Council is a resolution supporting the:

  • Repeal of prevailing wage
  • Creation of a Right to Work Zone…same as Governor’s Rauner’s “Empowerment Zones”
  • Dilution of collective bargaining rights

So, what’s an “empowerment zone”? The governor would like to create areas across the state where voters could decide if workers in their communities should be forced to join a union or pay associated dues. A related advisory vote on the April 7th Hinsdale District 86 ballot asked voters to weigh in on whether teachers should be able to strike. Guess what? It passed with 61% support! At the same time, Hinsdale voters rejected Tea Party candidates and returned the majority control on their school board to more moderate folks. To see voters holding these diametrically opposed positions at the same time underscores the dangerous appeal of “good spin” and where it can lead.

Other ideas promoted by the Governor during his February State of the State speech included the following:

  • Calling for a ban on political donations by unions
  • Giving taxpayers a say in the collective bargaining process at the local level
  • Ending the requirement that prevailing union wages be paid to workers on state and municipal construction projects

Public sector unions will be especially vulnerable to these attacks, inasmuch as their members’ occupations are supported by taxpayer funds.

How would this work? If a unit of local government (county, municipal, or other unit of local government…e.g. community colleges, school districts, etc.) supports such a resolution, it could then be placed as a referendum on the next ballot to decide “whether business (school district) employees should be forced to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment.”

About 15% of the state’s workforce (831,000) are members of a union. An additional 49,000 workers were identified as having no union affiliation, although their jobs were covered by a union contract. These are the “fair share” fee payers…and they are at the heart of the right to work movement.

We need you to come forward on behalf of “workplace democracy”! As a member of the IEA for 27 years, I treasured my collective voice, expressed by the leaders of my union. One of the greatest frustrations for so many in the workforce is that they have no “voice”…no one to express – safely – the issues related to fairness, safety, respect, etc. that arise in the working lives of each of us. Being a member of a union provides that “voice”…which is why I call it “workplace democracy.”

So, what is it we are hoping you will consider doing?

Show up at the Naperville Municipal Center at 7 PM…and, if you plan to speak, about 6:30 PM…If you plan to speak, the agenda item is “N-2”. Your presence in support of your fellow union members and Democratic progressives is vital to the success of this grass-roots “push back” to this proposal. Send me an email if we can count on your support and presence on Tuesday:

CommunityAnd, secondly…the next meeting of the Naperville Township Democratic Organization on April 23rd at 7:30 PM at the Naperville Municipal Center, lower level, will focus on the following organizational issues:

  • Presentation and discussion of the 2015-2016 NTDO Budget
  • Presentation of the 2014-2015 NTDO Annual Report
  • Presentation/discussion of several proposed by-law amendments

And, the rest of the evening’s program will be devoted to discussing the April 7th Consolidated Election.

Hope to see you at both events! Dianne McGuire, Chair, NTDO