My husband worked 30 years as an IBEW operator. His paycheck and benefits provided for our family. His job kept us comfortable and secure. For Illinois families like ours, that’s the most important thing – a middle class income with reliable employment and benefits. In other words, a UNION job.

In 1964, one-third of Illinois workers were union members. By 2014 that number was cut in half. As unions get squeezed out, pay rates go down. And who’s feeling this decline the most? Men like my husband – working class men trying to support their families. Strong unions are the backbone of the middle class.

Unions set the wage standard. They feed the middle class. Union families spend their money where they live. They put down roots so communities can grow and flourish. The Republican drive to push out unions is disgraceful.

So-called “right to work” laws are designed to make unions weaker and keep wages low to increase profits for corporations. Shame on them all for discounting our workers in this manner! We MUST do better! I will not turn my back on organized labor!