Gov. Quinn booed at Illinois State Fair
August 15, 2012 (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) (WLS) -- Wednesday was Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair, but it was anything but that for Pat Quinn.
Pro-union hecklers booed and shouted at Governor Quinn in Springfield. They are accusing him of trampling employees' rights and betraying the Democratic party's history of supporting workers.
"If you want to be governor of Illinois and you want to step into the arena, you've gotta have a tough hide," Quinn said Wednesday.
As he entered a Springfield hotel morning, the governor saw union employees passing out pamphlets expressing their disappointment in Quinn's majority Democratic party.
"Real Democrats believe in defined benefit pensions," said state employee Chuck Stout. "They believe in fair wages for working people, they believe in union rights, and they don't break contracts like Pat Quinn has."
"We're in a tough situation here," said Sen. Dick Durbin. "We're deeply in debt as a state, and cutting spending is obvious, and as you cut spending it affects jobs."
During his elected term, the governor cancelled pay increases for state workers and recently has pushed for a raising the retirement age and employee contributions, and lowering retiree benefits.
"We've supported these Democrats, and we want to be treated with respect and dignity," said Illinois AFL-CIO's Michael Carrigan.
At the state fairgrounds, hundreds of chanting, uninvited union members crashed the Democrats' Governor's Day picnic, and when Quinn tried to speak to the rally, you could barely see or hear him above the sign-waving and noise.
The governor left without holding his scheduled news conference.
"I know he got a good, loud clear message here and I know that he thinks about all these issues," said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon.
"One should be able to come and air their grievances," said Illinois Representative Al Riley, (D) south suburbs, "but you have to do it in a way that's respectful."
politics, charles thomas
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