Illinois Workers Crash Gov. Rauner’s State of the State Address

Workers at Illinois State Capitol

Fast food workers, union members and community activists joined forces at the State Capitol on January 31 to hold anti-worker Governor Bruce Rauner accountable for vetoing a $15 minimum wage and for his attacks on workers’ unions.

Just steps away from the chambers where the governor held his 4th address, Fight for $15 workers held anti-Rauner signs and organized a press conference in the rotunda, vowing to unseat him in November’s gubernatorial election. “Since we lost the $15 minimum wage increase, Gov. Rauner deserves to lose his job!” said Adriana Alvarez, McDonald’s fast food worker and Fight for $15 leader. “It’s time for him to go and time for us to elect a governor who can make our $15 and union rights become a reality. Illinois doesn’t have time to waste another term with this same politician and his anti worker policies.”

Workers and allies then marched to the second floor to stage a sit in outside of the governor’s office where they met Rauner face to face chanting “Rauner Vetoed $15, Veto Rauner ‘18”.

Over 2 million Illinois residents and underpaid workers like Kayla Gray, have been affected by Rauner’s decision to block a $15 living wage. “Rauner can’t relate to the struggle that I face everyday. $15/hour could’ve changed my life” said Gray, also a fast food worker at McDonald’s. “He stole the raise me and my 3 yr old daughter were counting on. Now he’s going to pay the price because he’s lost our votes.”

In the past four years, Gov. Rauner has made drastic budget cuts to social services and has defunded resources that many underserved communities rely on. Disability Rights activist Susan Aarup expressed her dismay. “Whether we have a disability or not, we are in this together because it’s a fight for our lives” said Aarup, also a member of ADAPT. “Rauner hasn’t been listening to any of us, and today we’ve made sure our voices were heard.”
Workers outside the illinois state capitol
Unions and their members are also facing attacks by Rauner and agree that his bid for re-election is in jeopardy. “Unions are the big brothers and sisters for working men and women” said ATU Local 308 Secretary Treasurer, Deborah Lane. “It’s a new day, new time and new age. Working people want to exist, not co-exist. Governor Rauner’s time is up!”

A $15 minimum wage would have provided $2.3 billion in revenue for Illinois and created pay raises for 2.3 million Illinois workers. As it stands, Illinois’ minimum wage is just $8.25/hour, where it has remained for more than a decade.

#FightFor15 Workers won’t back down from this fight or any other, and we plan on keeping the pressure on in 2018 and beyond. Get involved in the fight in 2018 by signing up to volunteer 40 hours before the election. Join the 40 for 15 Today!