Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Truthish or Falsey: Bill Brady Is "an Enemy of Labor"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pat Quinn and Sheila Simon have a new Internet ad calling out Bill Brady as an enemy of the working man.

    In the ad, Tom Villanova, president of the Chicago and Cook County Building and Trades Council, says “Bill Brady is the number one largest homebuilder, non-union, in the state of Illinois,” says Tom Villanova. And Brady constituent Mike Matejka of Bloomington Laborers Local 362 says “Almost anytime a labor bill comes up in the Illinois House or the Illinois Senate, he votes against it."

    Brady’s Labor Day didn’t include any picnics with the Plumbers, the Pipefitters or the Carpenters. He would have been as welcome as a vegan caterer at a union shindig. But is he as bad as this? Yeah, not even Brady would dispute that he’s a foe of the union movement. We rate this ad “Truthish.”

    Quinn leveled the “non-union homebuilder” charge against Brady back in March. According to the Sun-Times, a “Brady campaign official added that Brady’s construction company has hired both union and non-union workers in its 40-year history.”

    Of course, to a building trades official, hiring any non-union worker is a deplorable practice. By that standard, Brady Homes is non-union.

    The ad also accuses Brady of sponsoring a bill to cut workers’ compensation benefits. Earlier this year, Brady introduced Senate Bill 3830, which would tighten workers’ comp requirements by requiring that permanent disability be certified by a physician, that “subjective complaints” (i.e., pain) should be supported by “objective measurements” and that workers whose accidents were caused by intoxication shouldn’t get benefits.

    Then there’s the charge that Brady “voted against union labor in public works projects.” In 1997, as a state representative, Brady voted no on an amendment to the Prevailing Wage Act. It would have provided “that a public body may require a contractor that is the successful bidder on a public works project and its subcontractors to enter into or agree to observe the terms of a project labor agreement establishing the terms and conditions of employment for workers subject to this Act with the labor organization having jurisdiction over the type of work performed.” The bill failed.

    According to the ad, Brady also voted “against protecting workers on strike.” In 2003, the senate voted to amend the Employment of Strikebreakers Act by making it illegal to “knowingly contract with a day and temporary labor service agency to replace an employee during a strike or lockout.” Brady voted no, but the measure became law.

    Then there’s the charge that Brady voted “against safety requirements on worksites and penalties for violators.” Brady did vote against the Structural Work Act of 1999, which would have required that scaffolds “be constructed in a safe and suitable manner,” and made any violation a misdemeanor. It failed.

    It’s also true that Brady proposed lowering the state’s $8.25 minimum wage by $1, to match the federal level, although he has since backed off on that idea.

    At Saturday’s Right Nation 2010 event, Brady declared that he wants to “energize free enterprise system to bring private-sector jobs to the state of Illinois. To do that, we’re going to root out the bureaucracy and the regulation and free the system up. To do that, we’re going to curtail the litigation that burdens businesses in this state and make Illinois a level playing field again.”

    The Quinn offers a glimpse at how exactly Brady would like to do that.