“Know your rights” is the subject of an email sent by CMS to all state employees today. We read the subject and the sender with total shock, since throughout many decades of dealing with CMS, we have never known them to make an effort to educate employees about our rights—contractual or legal. It’s also safe to say that the Rauner Administration—which has been so consistently hostile to state employees—is not about to start doing so now.

So you can be very sure that the intent of that latest missive from CMS’ John Terranova is NOT to provide employees with accurate information.

In fact, Terranova is deliberately misleading.

Contrary to his claims, no “AFSCME representative” has told anyone they will be fined if they cross a picket line. As we have stated very clearly, AFSCME has never fined an employee for crossing a picket line—and has no intention of doing so now. Nor, as Terranova alleges, is there any strike of state employees scheduled “as early as September 1”. That’s just one more ploy by CMS to twist the truth.

Terranova’s letter is simply an attempt to get employees to drop out of the union. One of Bruce Rauner’s first acts as governor was to issue an Executive Order aimed at pressuring employees to drop their union membership and become a “fair share fee-payer” instead. That’s part of his so-called “Turnaround Agenda” aimed at destroying unions in the state of Illinois.

Why do Rauner, Terranova and the rest of their gang want to weaken unions, especially AFSCME? To make it easier for them to double workers’ cost for health care and freeze your pay, taking $10,000 from the average employee’s pocket. To clear the path for privatizing public services, contracting out good jobs and rewarding the governor’s millionaire friends.

Because we say no, they want us out of the way.

Bruce Rauner has called public employee unions a “tumor” and vowed to eliminate us. Terranova’s letter is simply one more attack aimed directly at the ability of working people to have an organized voice on the job.

Unfortunately, you can be sure they will keep attacking. Our best defense is to keep on doing what we’ve been doing: telling the truth, getting our message out in our communities, and providing the services on which citizens depend.

In unity,

Tracey Abman
Associate Director

Courtesy of AFSCME Council 31