Illinois House Democrats vote down right-to-work measure

SPRINGFIELD — Democrats in the Illinois House have voted down a plan similar to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to allow local governments to permit workers to opt out of unions. Only one Republican voted against the measure, all others voted “present.”

(Credit: Henryk Sadura)
(Credit: Henryk Sadura)

Thursday’s vote was 0-72-37. The Democrats who control the House cast “no” votes. The entire Republican caucus, with the exception of one member — Raymond Poe — voted present because they said the vote was a “political sham.”

Democrats in a heated debate said the proposal would adversely affect middle class families.

Illinois AFL-CIO president Michael T. Carrigan who represents the We Are One coalition of public unions in Illinois said last week that present votes on the measure would not be acceptable, and if there are too many absences by House members, they will look at their absences with suspicious eyes, commenting that it’s time to find out where an elected legislator, an elected person is on this subject.

Only two House members had excused absences, David Reis and Mike Tryon, eight other Republicans did not vote.

Rauner has toured Illinois touting his idea of local “empowerment zones.” The zones would allow voters to make union membership voluntary at unionized workplaces.

The vote came the same week Rauner gave $400,000 to Republican lawmakers who help push forward his “turnaround” agenda, including $10,000 for GOP Senate leader Christine Radogno.

You can see how your lawmaker voted on the measure here.