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Rauner vetoes graduate employee bill

8/30/2018
In his latest attempt to silence workers, Governor Rauner this week vetoed SB 2546. This IFT-supported legislation, sponsored by Senator Kwame Raoul, would have given graduate research assistants at Illinois public universities the right to join unions. 
 
"I was proud to walk the strike line with the Graduate Employees Organization last spring when they were fighting to keep tuition waivers," said Raoul, the Democratic candidate for Illinois Attorney General. "I saw firsthand how invaluable these workers are to the university and its students. As attorney general, I will continue to push for the stability this bill would have provided and always stand up to protect union rights.”
 
Currently, teaching assistants are the only graduate employees who are allowed to organize. SB 2546 would have amended the IELRB to include all graduate workers, including those assistants who conduct invaluable research for their universities.
 
The Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (GEOUIUC, Local 6300) responded to Rauner’s action, calling it “a shameful denial of our rights as workers,” and adding “we will continue to organize and fight!” 
 
The bill passed both the Illinois House and Senate earlier this year. It is uncertain whether lawmakers will attempt to override the governor’s veto during the session in November.
 
The IFT has long advocated for the right of all graduate workers to organize because they provide critical services that benefit student learning and enhance the financial stability of their institutions.
 
Rauner’s latest veto came just days after the governor rejected a bill that would have raised the minimum teacher salary in Illinois to just $40,000 over five years. 
 
Despite his rhetoric claiming to support educators and workers, the governor’s actions continue to tell the real story — he is on the side of wealthy corporate interests, not working men and women who deserve the right to collectively bargain. 
 
We can’t afford four more years of Bruce Rauner. 
 
That’s why the IFT has endorsed JB Pritzker for Governor, Kwame Raoul for Attorney General, and a host of candidates who have committed themselves to stand up for our schools, our public services, and our communities.
 
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