Speaking on the floor of the U.S. House Wednesday, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL,11) slammed Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal for Illinois "right-to-work" zones that would limit union power.
Calling Rauner's proposed "right-to-work" zones "bad policy," Foster said enacting such regulations would harm Illinois workers and "drag down all corners of the state in a race to the bottom."
Here's a clip of Foster delivering his remarks on the House floor:
Right-to-work policies generally look to ban unions and employers from entering into contracts requiring that workers pay union dues or fees when they take a job covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Rather than proposing a statewide right-to-work law, which lacks support in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, Rauner, a Republican, wants to let local Illinois communities enact their own right-to-work policies, saying the "employee empowerment zones" would help boost job creation and the state's economy. Local labor and economic experts have challenged those economic claims in a recent report.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has also weighed in on the matter, saying in a legal opinion that right-to-work zones in the state would violate federal law.
Here's the full text of Foster's speech against Rauner's push for "right-to-work" zones in Illinois:
Thank you Mr. Speaker.
Today, I rise to commend the communities in my district that have rejected the Governor of Illinois' efforts to create so-called "right-to-work zones."
Rather than lifting Illinois up to make life better for working families, the Governor's divisive plan would drag down all corners of the state in a race to the bottom.
These zones are a gimmick to pit communities against each other, to deprive workers of their rights, and to weaken unions.
Rather than creating good paying jobs for Illinois workers, these zones will depress wages across the state by incentivizing companies to move to whatever town offers them the possibility of paying lower wages and offering fewer benefits.
We shouldn't be asking hardworking men and women to work for poverty wages to make up for the fiscal deficit Illinois faces.
A deficit which is caused, in large part, by laws that we pass right here on the floor of Congress that cause the citizens of Illinois to pay $20 billion more each year in taxes than we get back in federal spending.
Unions did not cause the problems that Illinois faces, and cutting workers' pay will not solve them.
So I commend those in Naperville, Aurora Township, Oswego, and communities throughout Illinois fighting against this bad policy.
I'm proud to stand with you.