August 05, 2016

State employees fed up with Rauner harassment at work

Seven months after Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration broke off contract talks and walked away from the bargaining table with AFSCME, the governor’s top staff are ramping up a desperate campaign of misinformation and outright lies aimed at distracting and dividing state employees and weakening our union.

State workers are understandably frustrated and angry with the administration’s union-busting misbehavior. In response to an anti-union email sent Aug. 5 to all state employees by Rauner’s CMS Labor Relations Director John Terranova, DCFS child welfare specialist and AFSCME Local 2615 President Carlene Erno wrote to her state senator Neil Anderson and representative Mike Smiddy:

State employees have a very difficult job to do [but] we are constantly being bombarded with rhetoric from John Terranova (aka Bruce Rauner). It is a disruption to our workday [and to] providing the public with the services they deserve and are mandated to receive.

The issue of the AFSCME contract is at the Labor Board and when a decision is reached, we will move forward.

[T]his bullying, intimidation and lies has to stop. I cannot believe it is legal for an employer to send out emails to state employees like this … . I am asking for your assistance in addressing this matter immediately. Here is a quote from his email: “You have the right to report coercion or intimidation”. I am reporting coercion and intimidation from John Terranova and Bruce Rauner!”

The same day, AFSCME Council 31 issued this statement to the news media:

While the governor himself is missing in action—unseen and unheard for nearly an entire week—here in Illinois, public service workers in state government are on the job, protecting kids, caring for veterans and people with disabilities, ensuring public safety and performing all the other vital functions for which they’re responsible every day.

Meanwhile the missing governor’s appointees are piling up one lie after another in a desperate bid to create an alternate reality in which down is up, night is day and Bruce Rauner is a friend to state employees.

No matter how many times they repeat the lies, and no matter who says them—John Terranova, Governor Rauner or anyone else—false statements don’t magically become true. The truth is, no one has been fined by AFSCME and no one will be. No one has been threatened. No strike date has been set nor any strike authorization vote taken. And the cynical, obvious ploy of the Rauner Administration to strip union members of their rights and to silence their voices by weakening their representation is doomed to fail.

AFSCME members are going to keep serving our communities, speaking up through our union and standing up for the fair treatment that all working people deserve.

The Rauner Administration should drop its transparent anti-union campaign and focus on the real priorities of state government and the people of Illinois.

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