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A task force created by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to figure out how to reduce the number of local governments in the state. That group Thursday voted to recommend restrictions on organized labor. Members listening in via conference call heard an unexpected interlude.

Bruce Rauner

Did the voters know what they were getting?

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

News Analysis — On September 18, 2012, the year before Bruce Rauner declared his candidacy for governor, he shared his vision for a crisis that could help reshape state government.

labor event
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Labor unions are going on the road to make their case against Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s pro-business agenda. The latest in a series of events took place Wednesday morning in Springfield.

graph showing collective bargaining membership
Compiled by Barry Hirsch and David Macpherson at / Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau

The future of labor depends in large part on which view prevails: that of business, so neatly represented by Gov. Bruce Rauner, seeing unions as past their prime, and an impediment to the full potential of capitalism. Or that of the unions, who've seen the decline of labor precipitate a concentration in wealth at the top of the economic ladder, and ever-increasing income inequality.

University of Washington sociologist Jake Rosenfeld, author of What Unions No Longer Do, joins me to talk about the status of labor in America — and Illinois.

Bruce Rauner at Illinois Chamber forum.
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner has spent much of his first few months in office talking about labor unions. He’s shared not only policy proposals, but also his ideas about the history of the union movement. I wrote about the state of labor in the April edition of Illinois Issues magazine and decided to take a closer look at one the governor’s theories.

day laborer protest
Carlos Fernandez /

An Illinois lawmakers wants to find out whether day labor and temp agencies are discriminating against certain workers. Legislation would require the companies to take daily attendance — including collecting racial information. The data would be used to track which workers get placed and which are turned away.


Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past
A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity _ at the federal, state or local levels.
Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector workforce last year. That's according to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics.