Working In These Times
By Rachel M. Cohen
On Tuesday night, in a strong rebuke to the anti-labor agendas of Wisconsin and Illinois’ Republican governors, voters elected Democrats to lead their states. Illinois’ new governor, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, won the race with 54 percent of the vote, while Wisconsin’s new governor, Tony Evers, won his contest, though final votes are still being tallied. Both ran on strong, clear messages of supporting unions and working families.
It would be hard to understate the damage to workers wrought by Scott Walker, elected during the Tea Party wave of 2010, and Bruce Rauner, elected in 2014. Walker wasted no time taking aim at organized labor: In 2011 he proposed the notorious Act 10, legislation which stripped public school teachers of their right to collectively bargain, on top of slashing their health insurance and pension benefits. In Illinois, Rauner’s record was similarly hostile to workers. Upon taking office in 2015, the governor’s first order of business was to introduce his so-called “Turnaround Agenda”—a wish-list of 44 proposals that he insisted were needed to save the state. Among them were calls to eliminate collective bargaining for public sector unions, establish right-to-work zones throughout the state, and end prevailing wage laws.
(Win McNamee/Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images)