State Workers Rally Against Rauner at Woodstock Square

From their gathering spot on Clay Street, the demonstrators walked to the Woodstock Square.

From their gathering spot on Clay Street, the demonstrators walked to the Woodstock Square.

Upwards of 75 union members and sympathizers gathered at the Woodstock Square at noon to condemn Governor Bruce Rauner, billionaires and Republicans.

Marching to the Woodstock Square, most wore green AFSCME tee shirts.

Marching to the Woodstock Square, most wore green AFSCME tee shirts.

The 60-70 union members marched to the Square where a sign was placed in front of those standing more or less in the shade.

They were addressed by Carlos Acosta, AFSCME Union Steward in Local 2833.

AFSCME Union Steward Carlos Acosta spoke to the crowd.

AFSCME Union Steward Carlos Acosta spoke to the crowd.

He explained that a hundred different events were being held over a three-day period.

“The Governor has basically asking AFSCME to commit organizational suicide.”

A big sign read, "

A big sign read, “Working Families need your support, stand up for living wages.  Scraps bring Misery; Fair Wages bring Hope and Progress.”

Acosta thanked other unions who sent representatives, mentioning the American Federation of Teachers and the Firefighters and maybe others I didn’t jot down.

A view of the demonstrators from the east.

A view of the demonstrators from the east.

“Whatever comes out of these contract talks will set the tone for all others,” he said.

Kristina Zahorik

Kristina Zahorik

My favorite tee shirt promotes the "Troublemakers Union."

My favorite tee shirt promotes the “Troublemakers Union.”

The next speaker was Oakwood Hills Village Trustee Kristina Zahorik, although she introduced herself as a 14th Congressional District Democratic Party State Central Committeewoman and Vice Chair of the McHenry County Democratic Party.

A former staffer of U.S. Senator Paul Simon, she characterized herself as a “stay at home Mom of five.”

Union Thug, Future

One union leader has a great sense of humor. He asked me to talk a photo of his son wearing a tee shirt saying, “Future Union Thug.”

Reading from a prepared speech, Zahorik said,

“I’m here because I’m with you.

“What I don’t see are the leeches our Governor talks about.”I don’t see the billionaires taking over our country.”

She reference Minnesota where the Democratic Party Governor has raised taxes and the economy is fine.

Referring to Rauner, she explained,

“He’s traveling the state being a bully, I mean, using his bully pulpit.

“Bullying is not governing.

“We are at war.

“We can no longer be shy,” she continued, as she urged people to get involved with elections.

Thompson, RB Wdstk City Council standingLocal Woodstock City Councilman RB Thompson was next up, first saying that he was not representing the City Council.

He revealed he had taught math at Woodstock High School for 38 1/2 years.  The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents Woodstock teachers.

“Unions changed our families.

“My Dad lived until he was 91 years old.

“Unions kept him [and my mother] alive.”

A mention was made of President Barack Obama, but there was no applause.

“When you win, Illinois wins,” Thompson said.

“You are fighting for the American dream.”


The AFSCME union negotiator whose name I didn’t catch.

The next speaker was Marlin (didn’t get his last name), who said he was an AFSCME negotiator for on the team meeting with the Governor’s people.

Marti Swanson had this sign saying, "We support state workers."

Marti Swanson had this sign saying, “We support state workers.”

“This is not a fight of us against them.

“We just want a fair contract.”

Not everyone who attended was from Woodstock.

Some heard Algonquin and Elgin mentioned.

And the retired teacher holding this sign, Marti Swanson, is a Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman in Ringwood.

There were two other messages that I haven’t seen in McHenry County before.

One supported Socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for President against Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders tee shirt.

This Bernie Sanders tee shirt was being worn by an older gentleman.

The other was on a young man wearing a pretty heavy sweatshirt with Industrial Workers of the World embroidery on the back.

The message on this sweatshirt prompted me to tell my son that Eugene Debs had been housed in the McHenry County Jail about a hundred years ago.  I've been told he was allowed to walk the streets of  Woodstock, so he may have passed where this young may was standing.

The message on this sweatshirt prompted me to tell my son that Eugene Debs had been housed in the McHenry County Jail about a hundred years ago. I’ve been told he was allowed to walk the streets of Woodstock, so he may have passed where this young may was standing.

It must have meant a lot to him, because the temperature was approaching 90 degrees.


State Workers Rally Against Rauner at Woodstock Square — 41 Comments

  1. Public sector unions and their Democrat masters – single handedly responsible for driving more residents and businesses out of Illinois and into debt than any other factor.

  2. Yet another union misstep.

    You would think that as a service, you knew you produced nothing, created nothing and were just an enormous drain on Illinois GDP, you would stay as quiet and out of sight as possible. Not Illinois Public Sector unions.

    Even the taxes they pay are just a line item, on a accounting ledger, derived from the Private Sectors shrinking ability to foot the bill.

  3. Don’t let the government take away what you work hard and sacrafice for everyday going to work.

    For those who don’t have a union job and dont know what it’s like to stand together will make the above comments.

  4. Help the workers!

    They have worked hard and deserve protection from the unions.

  5. I know plenty of union workers that are either out of work or siting home on severely cut back hours. They are plenty irritated that they have been “snowed” by union lies. Too bad most people didn’t get wise until it was too late to save any of their jobs. Let them march all they want. Very soon it will be a moot point.

  6. Sully, we are working very very hard to make certain the government will not take any more money from those who actually produce, who sacrifice blood, sweat and tears every week of every year and who should never be robbed by leeches like AFSCME.

    Anything we can do to take these blood sucking sycophants of big government off the public tit should be done.

    These people were deliberately provocative by being in McHenry County, a place which went over big for Rauner, and deserve only what the rest of us have when the government is done with us…


  7. How did the Unions get so much power in Illinois?

    The voters gave it to them.

    They kept electing people like Jack Franks and Pam Althoff whose mantra is “compromise”.

    This post is about thirteen years old but it gives you some background on how powerful unions are in the political sector.

    “llinois and Minnesota which give government employees the most liberal right to strike in the country. ”

    There is a very good reason why the Communist Party headquarters were moved from Madison, WI to Chicago.

  8. This is free speech.

    If the tea baggers can march, the anti abortion people can march so can the unions.

    Get thicker skins and get a job.

  9. Republicans have you hating unions etc but the true cost of waste is just that waste and the Pentagon is the biggest waster.

    I agree we pay enough taxes but no one is held accountable for bad actions.

    The Pentagon lost $8.5 trillion dollars and that is what we should be concerned about not people who clean public buildings and want


  10. The public union supporters at this rally are simply delusional.

    Nice people, but delusional.

    Illinois has never EVER raised more money than they do right now in taxes.

    We are one of (if not the) highest taxed people living in any state in the union.

    People are leaving because of our ridiculously high taxes.

    Despite these facts, Madigan and his union buddies have this state economy in the TOILET.

    The few who benefit from the present political system are the politicians and their friends (i.e. state unions).

    Give me a break.

    To seriously argue otherwise is simply delusional.

  11. Ah, the “Useful Idiots” on the move again … and so are the
    businesses and residents who are leaving Illinois for better lives.

  12. You’re disgusting, karma, with your homosexual slurs!

    Get a clue and stop being such a bigot.

  13. Rauner IS working on behalf of all of the taxpayers in the State.

    Carlos Acosta and his union are working on behalf of the Democrats.

  14. Some of the ‘demon-strators’ carried signs “WE PROTECT THE CHILDREN”.

    Just how do unaffordable taxpayer funded pensions and union dues protect children?

    Union dues used to fund Demoncrat candidates for office.

    Demoncrats who pass legislation to enhance union power.

    “The agency reports that, during the 2011 and 2012 audit period, an estimated 2,800 to 3,100 foster children, or state wards, disappeared in 26,500 to 29,200 separate incidents.”

    Is this the agency that Carlos Acosta works for?

  15. Look at the bright side…

    No lost work time for this protest.

    They don’t do anything all day but drink coffee.

    How many kids were saved by Carlos not being at work doing what we pay him to do?

  16. Anybody else notice that these hardworking, starving government employees disproportionately could use some time on a Stairmaster?

  17. Karma:

    Your personal knowledge of and affinity for homosexual practices is noted.

  18. The agency that Carlos Acosta works for should be replaced by a private organization similar to SAFE FAMILIES which is privately funded.

    “Economically speaking, SAFE FAMILIES is a significantly better social investment. In terms of the cost of care, taxpayers spend anywhere from $25k – 30k per child with mostly unfortunate results. SAFE FAMILIES on the other hand, requires about $1,500 per child and is privately funded.”

  19. Unions have outlived their usefulness.

    Unions have also KILLED work ethic and to a point, they’ve compromised morality in their members .

    I refuse to call them ‘workers’ as we ALL are workers.

    We work harder so union workers can line up at the trough and get their goodies and still whine for more!

    HAVING to join a union against your will should be made Illegal.

  20. Comments about stairmasters and sitting around drinking coffee are ridiculous and childish.

    Stick to the real issue at hand I know several State workers in McHenry Cty.

    That take their jobs Very seriously and give all their time and energy to help all the people in need.

    Be it young or old, Veterans, people just temporarily down on luck.

    The workers I know are highly educated and have gone through much training to do their jobs well.

    They give their best effert, because what and how they do their job effects people’s lives.

    I also know they have shed many a tear and worry for the people they are trying to help

    Privatization is Not the answer, it will create so many problems.

    I support our State Workers

  21. Eliminate unions and you have eliminated the problems of Illinois finances.

  22. Sorry CC, doesn’t wash.

    I ran several unionized departments of the AG’s office, and the unions consistently fought any efficiency efforts even when guarantees were made that there would be no cuts in staff.

    Good employees were shackled to the drone majority.

    There were no union proposals that were good for the Taxpayers or the intended beneficiaries of the programs.

    Government exists for the benefit of those who get paychecks from it.

    As far as education, government employees are the lowest quality graduates of the easiest college programs.

    They were trained in college to breath and exist.

    Anything else is too much.

  23. All I can say to you CN is you should check your statistics, and maybe go and meet some of them before you make statements like that.

    The few I know have multiple Master Degrees and were in the upper half of their class.

    And still have student loans they’re paying on their average salaries.

    Most people couldn’t handle the work load, stress and pressure these workers have.

  24. I was there, you are not.

    If these people are so good, why do they need a union to protect them, instead of their work history?

  25. For those of you who like to make negative comments with out any facts to back them up…

    1. State employees are paid mostly from federal money , not state money and we pay into both.

    2. We pay into our unions, not you. We pay into our pensions, not you. We also pay into social security, federal and state taxes, just like the rest of the working class. Our union doesn’t affect you.

    3.we are not fighting for more money we are fighting for our jobs are livelihood and most of all our rights as Americans.

    4. We are not responsible for the state deficit, the politicians are because they like to stick their hands in other peoples money and spend it.

    5. Do you all feel okay with Social Security benefits being nonexistent for your retirement because politicians have dipped into the system to use the money as they see fit? Why should that be okay for our pensions that we pay for?

    6. Put yourselves in our shoes and imagine Rauner deciding your company is paying too much to the employees, trying to take your retirement that you pay into, Lowering your pay or taking away your job completely, just so he can hire less qualified, untrained people to do your job at minimum wage so the employer can put more money in their pockets. Would you not be fighting?

    7. None of you know me or my coworkers. You don’t know how hard we work and how much we care for the people we serve, stop judging our character and work ethic without knowledge of either.

    8. We may not make or build anything… But we have a purpose in this world. We serve and protect the people, we protect the children, we help the elderly, the underprivileged, we serve and protect the communities and provide many other services not mentioned. We do make a difference and without us the economy will fall just like it would without those who build or produce. We are Child protective services, public aid, firefighters, teachers, policeman and many others who dedicate their careers to serving others.

    9. We took our lunches to rally because we have restrictions on when we can rally.

    10. Obviously you are getting your information from the media in which Rauner pays to have put his lies out there. I suggest you all do some research and learn both sides of the story before making judgments based on your own prejudices not backed up by facts. How would you feel if others were attacking you when you’re just trying to do what we all are, work and support our families. I don’t judge your careers because I know nothing of what it entails, don’t attack ours. No one person, like Rauner, should be able to choose the life we live and how we live it. He is attacking our constitutional rights and if you’re in support of him taking from the middle class and under privileged so he and his friends can become richer, then all I can conclude is you must be a billionaire as well.I don’t have nine houses, I have one modest home that I work hard to pay for and I am a state employee who loves their job and the service I give to the people. So don’t tell me how much money I deserve to make or what benefits I deserve to get, tell billionaire Rauner who makes more than us all combined. It’s sad to see the amount of ignorant, judgmental, and unpatriotic people we have here in Illinois. You were all making snarky remarks based on your opinions only not based on facts I could do the same. For example, I could assume based on the fact of the times that you’re all blogging that none of you are hard-working people, because while you’re sitting at home writing on this blog I am at work working hard serving the people. But that would be ignorant of me to make a comment like that because I know nothing about your lives or your careers, maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad, maybe you work from home, maybe you work first or third shift, or you’re a retired person. This is what you all are doing on this blog you’re making assumptions about state workers without knowing any of the true facts. I wish you all the best in your careers and lives and truly hope you’re not next on Rauners’ attack list.

  26. Wow!

    Thank you to “State employee” Well said !

    You hit on alot of areas people have not been informed about.

    I think you proved my point, You Sound like a very educated, smart, caring person to me!

    Run for office you have my vote.

  27. Yes, State employee, thank you for making a point even if it wasn’t the one you intended.

    Why not sidle up to Concerned Citizen and share all your facts and figures (straight from AFSCME, I’m sure).

    In re your “facts”:

    #1 = Show us the money or it’s BS

    #2 = Sure you do, but you ignore the fact that the taxpayers also pay at least half

    #3 = If you do the job, you will be retained. If there are now fifteen of you to do the job that could be handled by 5, ten of you should be seeking gainful employment rather than marching to rallies to hold on to what amounts to a “feather bed” job.

    #4 = Partially correct. The politicians gave in to your union’s extortionate demands to gain your vote, both of you knowing full well that those promises could not be kept.

    #5 = Agreed – you got one right

    #6 = See #3, he’s not taking the pension you’ve been guaranteed. He’s changing the rules for next generation of employees. Enough is enough is enough.

    # 7 = I know enough of you to form an opinion. Check out the wages paid to IDOT LABORERS, not engineers, LABORERS. Then remember the “joke” about “What’s orange and sleeps six?” Doubt it? Go to the Woodstock Garage any weekday morning and follow just about any truck that leaves and stick with them for the better part of the day. I have

    #8… you get the picture. I can’t continue. I have to go vomit just thinking about it.

  28. No public employee has ever once paid for union dues, taxes, their home, cars, clothes or even food.

    It is solely through the efforts, innovation, sweat, long hours, high risk investment and many many stress filled tears ANY taxes get paid by people who actually produce something so public union people can feel entitled to take even more as they whisper sweet nothings in their political benefactors ears.

    There is a place, a very necessary society building support role, for public employees.

    There has not been, is not and will never be any legitimate place for public unions who, by their very existence, are the antithesis of The American Dream and the destroyers of the very society legitimate public employees fight for daily.

    The fact AFSCME or any other public union can convince educated, or any, people to follow their self destructive path is mystifying to rational people.

    If you hate the United States, her Promise and her People so much move to Cuba where everything is exactly as the unions promise you it can be here if only they can get their way. As for me, I enjoy living in a first world nation rather than an third world hell hole governed by the stupidest mouth breathing people ever created who think the world owes them a living because they were born. Read a book.

    Watch any Robin Hood movie.

    Watch any John Wayne flick five minutes at a time on YouTube if your brain can’t handle more but know this…

    The whole Rauner hate is idiotic politicalspeak for “We hate America and we are jealous of what people who take huge risks to achieve have and believe, through no effort or achievement of our own, we are entitled to the same.”

    Get real.

    Get educated.

    Or get the hell out of my State and my nation.

  29. If public workers are serious about promoting understanding of their position, they must understand the position of those of us who guarantee their pensions, at the cost of our taxes and home values.

    I have yet to see an apple-to-apple comparison of what a private worker would need to accumulate in order to obtain the retirement benefits guaranteed to union workers.

    1. Look at an annuity calculator. Find the lump sum needed to purchase an open ended lifetime annuity for a 55 year old male or female in this state (including 3% COLA and survivor benefits). Be sure to analyze the $100,000+ pension amount, as this figure is a flashpoint for private worker resentment of benefit disparity.

    2. Look at a retirement calculator. Find the amount accumulated after 24 years of contributions(is it 15%?)by worker and ’employer’. Record the amount paid by each and state that ratio.

    3. Record the returns per year on a prudent investment mix of stocks, bonds, and cash(40-40-20?); state the average for the past 24 years (including the post-2008 crash/zero-interest-rate environment on bond ladders–no fair assuming all bonds were long-term purchased at 1990’s interest rates).

    4.Include analysis of the Maybach Healthcare Plan costs. Remember to include the new, additional 40% excise tax which will be a demanded cost from taxpayers beginning next year as a provision of Obamacare. Compare and contrast to private workers’ healthcare plan options and costs.

    Until such analysis is performed, I feel the debate is being deliberately misdirected into emotional areas, and people are being manipulated to be adversarial so as to avoid looking at hard numbers.

  30. One comment I felt compelled to make.

    While I wholeheartedly agree that public unions must cease to exist, I would love to see a definition of “people who actually produce something”

    Does that group include only the farmers and manufacturers?

    Does it include the food supplier to the factory?

    Does it include the people who must make sure that the various chemicals do not pollute the waters?

    Does it include the teacher who taught chemistry to the people who run the manufacturing?

    Does the group of producers include those who have inherited great wealth but have never made anythig with their hands.

    And when we talk about “people who invest,” is it only investment of capital? How about those who invest a lifetime in a profession, does that count for anything?

    Again, remember that I do not stand for public unions.

    I do want them gone ASAP.

    Just want to point out that the principles at work here are not so simple.

  31. Let the public sector employees have their unions but eliminate the arbitration laws in Illinois, eliminate the right to strike for all public sector employees, eliminate the Constitutional Guarantee to public sector pensions and eliminate prevailing wage laws in the state and Project Labor Agreements at the federal level.

    A good start would be to force public sector union employees to pay their union dues directly to the union.

    Stop the practice of employer deductions for union dues.

  32. State employees pay into social security, their own pensions, state and federal tax and health insurance.

    I know because my wife is a state worker.

    State workers are public servants reaching out to citizens from all walks of life but often our most oppressed populations.

    Rauner wants to proceed with a government shut down?

    Not sure how an attitude like that enables any citizen of Illinois to feel empowered or worthy.

    The war against state workers has reached the media.

    Don’t allow it to misguide you.

    Rauner is out to destroy the working class.

    Any of you fall into that category?

    My wife n I do and we have everything to lose.


  33. What is not getting answered is HOW MUCH is being paid in relative to HOWMUCH is being paid out, guaranteed, and then comparing and contrasting those figures with private sector.

    Without numerical specificity all arguments degenerate to emotional, counterproductive adversarial distractions.

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