Darren Bailey, the MAGA candidate for Illinois governor defeated in last year’s election, put out a racist YouTube video warning the other day of “dark days” if Brandon Johnson is elected Chicago Mayor on April 4th.
“Dark days?” Really Darren?
Race and racism has always been the touch stone of Chicago politics and so nobody should be shocked that it has emerged in the current race between right-winger Paul Vallas and County Commissioner Brandon Johnson.
Bailey’s “dark days” comment takes me back to Bernie Epton’s warning to vote for him against Harold Washington “before it’s too late.”
Or Richard Daley (2) telling parishioners on the northwest side that “Chicago needs a white mayor.”
When tape of those comments was released, Daley famously said that what he meant was that Chicago needs a “wet mayor.”
I had to laugh when some leaders of the skilled trades expressed outrage the other day when Chicago Teachers Union president Stacey Davis Gates was quoted as saying that the Chicago labor movement was not just “white guys in hard hats.”
It was probably not the most politic to say on the eve of the election.
But Davis’ point, that the labor movement here and elsewhere is frequently divided by race, is not wrong.
Or that the unions of the skilled trades have a long record of excluding Black and Brown workers from membership.
And it is no shock that most of the skilled trade unions have already endorsed Paul Vallas.
Note: Paul Vallas served as the unpaid consultant to the faux union of cops, The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.
This election has not been what has divided the labor movement in Chicago.
Whte racism has done that.
Rich Miller of Capitolfax reported:
Tensions between the two union sides have existed for years, even before the issue of pension reform bitterly divided the house of labor in the past decade. Teachers unions and AFSCME refused to contribute to then-House Speaker Michael Madigan’s personal campaign fund after he pushed through a pension reform package. Some of the trades, which backed Madigan, then began publicly calling for pension reform to free up state money for things like infrastructure.
This isn’t exactly true. As I have pointed out before, my state union, the Illinois Education Association, as well as the Illinois Federation of Teachers and Gates’ own Chicago Teachers Union have all been generous, frequent and recent donors to Friends of Michael Madigan.
I broke that story, posting the Aspen Institute video (you can find it on Youtube) where Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children boasts how he got the IFT, CTU and the IEA to go along with Madigan's bill that took away bargaining rights and instituted teacher testing that teachers still live with to this day.
The Political Action Committees and dues dollars from the IEA, the IFT and the CTU filled Madigan's personal campaign fund, The Friends of Michael Madigan.
In fact, he used teacher PAC money to hire the lawyers and pay the settlement in the case of Alaina Hampton.
Hundreds of thousands of teacher PAC and membership dollars that we donated thinking it was to help elect pro-education candidates.
Only when it was clear that the suit against Madigan's pension theft was headed for the Illinois Supreme Court, did the IFT and the IEA join in. It was the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, with far less resources, that hired the lawyer who made the argument before the court facing down Lisa Madigan, the state AG and daughter of the boss.
Madigan wasn't indicted for any of this.
But he's guilty of it.
None of the state’s unions, skilled trades or otherwise, have clean hands when it comes to politics in general or Madigan in particular.
And the labor leaders who were clutching their pearls over Stacey Davis Gates’ comments should get off their high horses (I think I’m mixing metaphors).
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