PEORIA, IL - Republican Fund for Progress & Jobs, the union-backed political action committee established by Steve Shearer, came out swinging today with a press release claiming GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has flip-flopped when it comes to the issue of right-to-work.
According to Shearer, Rauner has promoted the right-to-work issue downstate and on his website, but dismissed the idea when he was recently interviewed on Chicago radio.
Rauner's website (screen-shot below) currently promotes "right-to-work zones", which he says would allow local communities "to decide whether workers must join a union in order to get a job." As governor, Rauner says he would be open to resetting Illinois' work rules in a way that would undermine union membership and its power in Illinois.
Rauner first introduced his idea of right-to-work zones in a Springfield Journal Register op-ed (screen-shot below) published December 22, 2012. In it he suggests "right-to-work" should be established county-by-county throughout Illinois.
"Illinois need not adopt the exact reforms found in Wisconsin, Indiana, or Michigan," Rauner wrote. "But we sure need to move in that direction if we are going to compete for jobs. ...Under federal labor law, states may authorize their local communities to decide for themselves whether to embrace right-to-work. ...Why not empower Sangamon County, or Effingham County, or any of our other local governments, to decide for themselves if they would like to compete for the jobs that come with new manufacturing plants or transportation facilities built by the many hundreds of companies that will only consider expanding in flexible work areas?"
Shearer claims Rauner has since flip-flopped on the issue and cites the candidate's appearance last fall on the Roe & Roeper radio show. When the hosts asked Rauner if he wanted to make Illinois a right-to-work state, Rauner responded that it wasn't a top priority (audio below).
On a later Roe & Roeper show a Rauner supporter named "Susan" called into the program to praise Rauner. The hosts asked her to give a specific reason for her support. She said she heard Rauner say he was going to make Illinois a right-to-work state. Co-host Roe Conn told the caller: "We asked Rauner that directly--he denied it here...he denied it here, now we're talking about both sides of the street." (audio below at 12:26)
To Steven Shearer, Chairman of the Republican Fund for Progress & Jobs, this is evidence that Rauner "demonstrates an inherent dishonest pattern of pandering to a particular crowd, flip flopping when the polls show he is taking heat, and most of all--outright lying. Bruce Rauner is proving himself as lacking the character necessary to be a good governor of Illinois," concluded Shearer.
Whether that be the case or not, the question now seems to be: "Is right-to-work a priority to Bruce Rauner, or not?"