Pritzker gives IFT, unions a seat at the table

by Amy Excell | Nov 30, 2018
In sharp contrast to Rauner, JB Pritzker has appointed IFT and other union leaders to key transition committees to help him solve our state's challenges.
Even before taking office on January 14, Governor-elect JB Pritzker is fulfilling his promise to listen to - and work - with unions on important issues that affect public education, state services, and all working people in Illinois.
 
This month, Pritzker established key transition committees, including the Education Success Committee and the Budget and Innovation Committee. The groups are meant to serve as guideposts to help Pritzker’s administration find solutions to difficult challenges facing our state.
 
In sharp contrast to Governor Rauner, Pritzker has appointed several union leaders to the committees, including IFT President Dan Montgomery to the budget committee and IFT Secretary-Treasurer Jane Russell (Local 571) and IFT Vice President John Miller (Local 4100) to the education committee.
 
“JB Pritzker understands that our members and leaders bring an expert level of knowledge, experience, and professionalism to the table on education and worker issues,” said Montgomery. “I’m proud to represent our members statewide on this committee, and even more pleased that our future governor is serious about working with our unions, not against them.”
 
Pritzker has tasked the 17-member Budget and Innovation Committee with finding a collaborative way to solve the state’s fiscal problems, including $8 billion in unpaid bills and massive pension liabilities. Former Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes is chairing the group.
 
The Education Success Committee, comprised of 35 members, is charged with advising the governor-elect on education policy and raising student standards at every level, from PreK-16.

The committees are specifically comprised of individuals with diverse viewpoints and experience, including politicians from both sides of the aisle, business people, educators, and union leaders. The overall transition effort is co-chaired by Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan.
 
“In order to get something done, we need to listen to all parties,” said Pritzker at a recent press conference.

The groups are expected to produce comprehensive reports that will be provided to the new governor and made available to the public, likely around mid-January.