Internal Rauner documents reveal anti-union strategy
Documents recently provided to AFSCME by an anonymous whistleblower inside state government reveal that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has established a new division of CMS dedicated to restricting employees' rights.
Dubbed the Labor and Employment Advisory Division (LEAD), the group is intended to "gain and maintain control over the workforce", documents show.
Among the group's stated goals are to "mitigate external interference with employer-employee relationship" (a bit of management jargon that's usually code for union-busting) and "implement systems that reward and recognize high performers" (a euphemism for so-called "merit pay" schemes that open the door to favoritism and political influence).
Its listed "tactical objectives" include to "invigorate management’s ability to discipline … employees" and "reduce unionization among managers and supervisors". The administration has already begun a systematic effort to strip union representation from employees who years ago were found not to be managerial and thus have the legal right to join a union.
On a list of supposed "tools for building a better workforce", first is "Reinvigorated employee discipline". Also noted are so-called "merit pay" and "managed competition" (aka privatization) schemes.
Five subsequent pages dated Nov. 2, 2016 list "LEAD lawyers" assigned to each agency of state government.
"These documents reveal Bruce Rauner's adversarial attitude toward the tens of thousands of state employees who provide vital services to Illinois residents," AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. "He won't work toward a budget for priorities like schools and human services, but he's diverting public resources to intimidate workers and undermine their union rights.
"State workers do difficult jobs, often without adequate resources. They protect kids, respond to emergencies, care for the vulnerable and keep us safe," Lynch said. "Added to his attempts to freeze their pay and double their health care premiums, the governor's campaign to silence their voices threatens to create a hostile work environment and drive morale to an all-time low.
"Maybe as a billionaire CEO, Bruce Rauner used bullying tactics to get his way," Lynch added, "but public service workers are not property to be 'controlled', workplace democracy is not 'external interference', and threats of 'invigorated discipline' are the worst possible way to motivate a workforce."
The revelation of Rauner's new anti-union division is only the latest in a litany of his extreme anti-worker words and actions:
January 2016 Walked away from contract negotiations with AFSCME.
Summer 2015 Tried to recruit strike-breakers from the ranks of retirees and did not deny possibly calling up the National Guard to do the same.
March 2015 Told lawmakers "that if his policies are adopted by the Legislature, union membership will be eliminated in Illinois within the next four years."
February 2015 Issued an illegal executive order blocking lawful fair share agreements.
January 2015 Said "this is not about negotiating with [unions]. They just have to go away."
March 2013 Boasted that he would "take a strike and shut down the government for a few weeks" to "re-do everybody's contract."
March 2013 Threatened to "do what Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers".
September 2012 Vowed to "drive a wedge issue" between social service agencies and labor unions.
May 2011 Said "we have a financial tumor growing in the United States, created by the public sector unions."