Governor Rauner Threatens Thousands of Construction Jobs

June 28, 2017 - LMCC

Wayne Hedley, construction Laborer, to  Governor Rauner, “Please, don’t forget about me and my family.”

June 30 is a crucial deadline for roughly 30,000 construction workers and their families in Illinois because if Governor Rauner does not agree to a compromise with the General Assembly by Friday, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be forced to shut down billions of dollars in road projects. Many construction Laborers have likely already been involved in preparing unfinished projects for a safe shut down.  

Wayne Hedley, a construction Laborer and member of Laborers Local 76 testified before the entire Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday to ask the general assembly to continue funding Illinois Department of Transportation construction projects so he and other Laborers can keep their jobs.

Mr. Hedley told the lawmakers that he and his family are completely reliant on the work he gets on transportation construction projects and explained how losing work means that he might also lose his family’s health insurance because members have to work a certain number of hours in order to qualify. Shutting these projects down he said, will also force him to worry about whether he can feed his family, and pay his mortgage, his car payment, and his taxes. He implored Governor Rauner, “Please, don’t forget about me and my family,” and said that the Governor should stop playing politics with our livelihoods.

In addition to the certain job losses and the risks posed to commuters the shutdown would cause another gaping wound to our economy that is already in critical condition. According the Illinois Economic Policy Institute the IDOT project shut down would cause:

  • The loss of $2.2 billion in state infrastructure investment would reduce overall economic activity in the state by $1.77 billion in FY 2018.
  • The loss of 23,000, primarily middle-class construction, jobs will be lost, though loses will touch all economic sectors.
  • Reduction of tax revenues by $115 million, while increasing demand for taxpayer-funded unemployment insurance by as much as $155 million.
  • Increased travel times and potential unsafe travel conditions.

Governor Rauner has refused to back off of his ideological war path against workers and their unions and has failed to negotiate in good faith on a budget since he took office in 2015. He’s now indicated through inaction that he’s willing to add at least 30,000 construction workers and their families to the mounting hostage list. The Chicago Laborers’ District Council is working diligently with lawmakers to ensure that a fair and full budget that includes IDOT funding is passed by the deadline.