The cost of political participation: Public union dues in Illinois exceed $7 million annually

The Madison County Record Aug. 25, 2015, 5:41pm


SPRINGFIELD – Political dues in unions of Illinois teachers and state employees exceed $7 million a year, state election board records show.

The Illinois Education Association currently reports contributions at a rate that would top $5 million.

Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees reported receiving more than $2 million in member dues last year.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers, its national organization, and AFSCME’s national organization also spend heavily in Illinois.

Candidates that the unions backed now participate in budget negotiations that have been at an impasse for nearly two months.

Last Wednesday, the state Senate overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the interest arbitration or “no strike-no lockout” bill.

The measure would enable mandatory arbitration should either the state or its unionized employees declare a bargaining impasse in their continuing contract talks.

Rauner has said that the plan - which was crafted by AFSCME - would favor unions.

The next step would be action in the House. Speaker Michael Madigan needs 71 votes to override the governor’s veto, or four more than when the bill passed with just 67 votes.

Madigan has said he believes the votes are there to override.

Records of last year’s campaign show how the Democratic Party relies on public employee unions.

When the party set up an Illinois Freedom committee to run a media campaign, Council 31 opened the account with $500,000.

The state teachers association matched that a day later, and the state teacher federation contributed half as much.

Three days later the national federation contributed $250,000.

Soon the state association contributed $300,000, the state federation contributed $200,000, and the national federation contributed $100,000.

In June the state association contributed $400,000 and the state federation contributed $325,000.

Council 31 contributed $330,000 in June and again in July, and the national union provided $500,000 from an “Illinois special” account in September.

The state teachers association contributed $250,000 in July, $500,000 in September, and $130,000 in October.

The national teachers federation contributed $130,000 in October, Council 31 contributed $180,000, and the national union contributed $100,000.

The committee raised $8.8 million, with $4.9 million coming from teachers, state workers, and their national unions.

The committee paid more than $7 million to Great American Media of Washington.

Organizations in this Story

Governor Bruce Rauner
301 S 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62707

Illinois PAC for Education (IPACE)
100E Edwards St.
Chicago, IL 62704-1901

Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE
700 S College St
Springfield, IL 62704-2524

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