Message from State Federation
& Secretary Treasurer
Michael T. Carrigan
President, IL AFL-CIO
Secretary Treasurer, IL AFL-CIO
It is an honor and a privilege to serve union members and their families throughout Illinois. With a million members, Illinois has the third largest union membership in the nation. Even in the face of one of the worst economic struggles in recent history, union membership has grown.
The growth of the Illinois AFL-CIO can be attributed to the tenacity of our 1,500 affiliates and their international unions who are committed to organizing campaigns and the fight for all workers’ rights, and to the enactment of Illinois’ 2003 “card check” law, making it easier for public employees to join a union.
Our state, as well as our membership, is wonderfully diverse. The Illinois AFL-CIO represents workers from Galena to Cairo - workers in the factory, on road crews, in the classroom, behind the camera, in our nursing homes and hospitals, driving our city buses, in the air, and on the rails. We represent workers of all backgrounds and education levels, young and old, male and female - all with a common goal - the desire to have justice and respect in the workplace.
To reach that goal, the Illinois AFL-CIO has created and joined coalitions across the state and the nation to create and save jobs, advance our organizing efforts, our political agendas and our collective bargaining potential.
In 2008, Illinois union members celebrated the swearing in of our own State Senator Barack Obama as President of the United States. It was an historic event to say the least and something our members worked hard to make happen. We are proud of the work President Obama and the national AFL-CIO have done since his inauguration. Many of Labor’s core issues have been addressed including health care and banking reform, as well as the creation of a jobs and economic stimulus plan.
However, at the state level, because of the economic downturn, working families have faced many challenges and disappointments from their state government. The benefits we worked so hard for over the past years have been challenged. We fought against lawmakers that we helped elect in an effort to stop cuts to public employee pensions and collective bargaining agreements. But instead of raising much-needed revenue, lawmakers attempted to balance a deficit state budget on the backs of working families. It seems when times get tough lawmakers always put the blame on hard-working, middle-income workers, instead of accepting responsibility for their mismanagement and making the hard choice to raise revenue.
In 2012, Labor will evaluate each political race that affects our members. Union members now more than ever understand that our lives at home and in the workplace are dramatically affected by laws and government policies. We will stand up for ourselves and be counted. And, as has always been the way of the Labor movement, we will stand together to fight for our jobs and our dignity.
The Illinois AFL-CIO and the 1,500 local affiliates it represents are meeting the challenges and moving forward. From north to south, from the city to the rural areas, all members of the Illinois AFL-CIO can be proud of the work we do everyday and for the strong work ethic we exemplify.
In Unity and Solidarity