Pat Quinn hasn't been in the public spotlight very much lately, but the former Illinois governor surfaced Wednesday at a protest in Chicago with stagehands who were demanding the right to unionize.
The group organized the protest outside of JAM Productions Ltd, a live entertainment production company located at 207 W. Goethe St. in Old Town, after about 40 stagehands were allegedly fired after trying to form a union, they say. The protesters said they were seeking pay increases and better working conditions, and they claimed that they have not received raises in seven to 15 years.
The protesters blasted JAM Productions owner Jerry Mickelson, and a large sign read, "I was knifed by a 'Jerry Mickelson' slacker for being a union backer."
Quinn was among those who spoke to the group of protesters, urging them to continue the fight to organize.
"We've had a lot of concerts in Chicago and Illinois over many decades," Quinn said. "There's a lot of good artists who come through our community, but we have to remember there are folks behind those artists who make those shows possible at great venues."
Ironically, Quinn's appearance at a pro-union rally happened the same day as the one-year anniversary of his defeat to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has done little to gain favor with unions.
At the rally, Quinn claimed unionization is the foundation the American middle class is built upon, and his speech ended with a pro-union slogan and loud applause from the crowd.
"So in closing, I would say, early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and organize!" Quinn said.