Executive Director Reports

Columns dating to July 2014 and earlier were written by retired Executive Director Henry Bayer.

Feb 01, 2024
Nov 21, 2023
Honoring the miners who laid the groundwork

Carrying on their struggle for dignity

Sep 27, 2023
AFSCME is "One Strong Union"

Unity. A common purpose. Power in numbers.

Jan 27, 2023
Our time is now

Respect and fairness—that's as basic as it gets. And that's what it's all about.

Jan 27, 2023
It's striking

Workers are demanding a bigger slice of the pie

Jan 27, 2023
Building a better future

Passing on union values

Dec 05, 2022
Our work matters!

We are determined to keep up the fight for human working conditions.

Sep 28, 2022
Anti-union groups sling mud and lies

We’re driving them crazy! Or driving them out of town—way out!

Jul 06, 2022
Building power to protect our pensions

Our best hope of remaining a democracy governed by the rule of law and responsive to the interests of the majority rather than an oligarchy is to build the power, including the political power, of the labor movement.

May 23, 2022
Vote YES for workers’ rights

Union rights are human rights. We’re working every day to strengthen and expand them. Voting ‘yes’ for the Workers’ Rights Amendment is one critical way to affirm just how fundamental collective bargaining is to our democracy.

Feb 10, 2022
Out of the woods?

The simple reality is that the State of Illinois budget is essential to the wellbeing of just about every AFSCME member in our state.

Dec 03, 2021
Executive Director Report: Taking aim at us

Anti-union forces seek to divide and conquer

Sep 08, 2021
Out of many, we make one strong union

Tough times test even the strongest bonds. The coronavirus may be our toughest fight.

Jul 15, 2021
Diversity, solidarity are keys to AFSCME's success

Union efforts make a difference at State Capitol

May 03, 2021
Reconnecting will strengthen solidarity

AFSCME members are ready to rebuild together.

Mar 02, 2021
Vaccination makes conquering COVID possible

We can face down our fears and summon the courage to move forward.

Jan 05, 2021
Solidarity calls on us to stand together

Solidarity is the foundation on which the American labor movement is built. In the recognition of our shared struggles and our shared hopes lies the truest potential for our shared progress.

Oct 19, 2020
Tax fairness is in our hands

Fair tax vote culminates years of groundwork

Aug 17, 2020
A moment of historic reckoning

Our legacy: AFSCME stands for the rights of all

May 27, 2020
Together we’re meeting the challenge

Coronavirus pandemic tests us all

Mar 11, 2020
The Union Difference is our nation’s hope

Building stronger unions helps lift us all up—we cannot be complacent.

Jan 02, 2020
2020—Let’s carry it on!

What a year 2019 has been for public service employees in Illinois.

Sep 13, 2019
Putting safety first: It’s a matter of life—and death

Serious, life-changing injuries on the job happen almost daily for public service workers. AFSCME is fighting back against careless or indifferent management practices that place little value on the health and safety of frontline employees.

Jul 08, 2019
AFSCME members refuse to be broken

Nothing has gone as the IPI or Bruce Rauner planned. We stood our ground and would not be moved.

May 03, 2019
It’s finally spring in Illinois

Our union grew stronger during the long, hard winter of Rauner’s reign. We're beginning anew.

Mar 18, 2019
Let’s keep forging a better future

Growth in union membership and activism has continued, even intensified, in the wake of the US Supreme Court ruling in the Janus case last June, which was widely predicted to herald the demise of public sector unions.

Jan 10, 2019
Rauner’s loss is workers’ win

When an incumbent governor loses by 15 points—something that hasn’t happened in Illinois since 1948—voters are doing more than picking a candidate. They are choosing sides.

Sep 30, 2018
Elections don't win themselves

JB Pritzker and Juliana Stratton have a strong campaign, but we have to do our part.

Jul 12, 2018
We will carry it on

As union members all across America face a new reality—a Supreme Court ruling in the Janus case that greatly strengthens the hand of the rich and powerful—I find myself thinking back on the challenges overcome and of those who came before in our movement.

May 11, 2018
What I learned at the dining room table

Unions help set the standards for education, skill levels, wages, working conditions and quality of life.

Mar 22, 2018
Rauner pushes to weaken rights, cut benefits

He’s blind to the demands and dangers many public employees face every day. This is the year we can set a better course if we are united and determined.

Dec 19, 2017
Just say no

Rauner-backed Illinois Policy Institute laying groundwork for massive anti-union campaign.

Nov 02, 2017
Unions are about freedom and fairness

Janus v. AFSCME is the latest plot to rig our economy against us.

Sep 05, 2017
Rauner’s down but not out—yet

If we want to defeat Rauner, we have to stand against the politics of resentment and division.

Jun 26, 2017
Illinois on the Brink

The byzantine and truly bizarre budget battles of these past months have left everyone from average citizens to astute political observers increasingly irate. And at long last, the blame is landing right where it belongs—at Bruce Rauner’s doorstep.

May 04, 2017
Surrendering democracy without a fight?

Rauner’s sowing cynicism among voters—and that suits him just fine.

Apr 03, 2017
The GOP's turn against workers

The fiercely anti-union takeover of the Republican Party

Dec 31, 2016
State employees in a fight for all Illinois workers

We have to face the harsh reality that our state has a governor who is determined to drive down the wages and strip the rights of all working people.

Oct 06, 2016
The Big Lie theory

The Illinois Policy Institute plays a critical role in Rauner’s web of deception.

Aug 31, 2016
Labor Day's real meaning

This Labor Day, let’s recall the dedication of the workers who came before us, who refused to bow down or be walked on, who took risks to uphold their basic rights, who built strong unions not just for themselves but for all of those who came after.

Jun 15, 2016
Making our voices heard: Why protests matter

“If protesting solved problems, Illinois wouldn’t have any problems.” That’s what Gov. Rauner said in response to the 10,000 concerned citizens who journeyed to the state capital on May 18 to express their opposition to his “Turnaround Agenda.”

Apr 19, 2016
Another wrong turn?

Fair pay and a voice on the job make for safer, more secure prisons. Bruce Rauner’s out to change that.

Feb 09, 2016
AFSCME never quits

Unions faced with unprecedented assault in high court

Nov 30, 2015
A fight to the death? Let's hope not.

By reaching out to our communities, we can help turn the tide against the Turnaround and move Illinois forward.

Oct 19, 2015
A man of his word? Not likely

Far from the villains that billionaire governor Bruce Rauner makes them out to be, Illinois' vital public servants make our state a better place.

Jul 31, 2015
One Goal—Keeping the American Dream Alive

Unions are under assault by an elite that seeks to consolidate wealth and power

Apr 30, 2015
The twisted logic of arm-twisting

Gov. Rauner’s trying to compel elected officials to ignore the will of their constituents and the needs of their communities.

Feb 28, 2015
Super-rich attempt Illinois takeover

Trying to shut out working families

Dec 18, 2014
Standing our ground on pensions

When attacks on retirement security came to Illinois, public employees fought back

Oct 09, 2014
Fighting against the flood

Bruce Rauner wants to swamp public employee unions – let’s make sure he doesn’t get the chance

Aug 21, 2014
A union built to last

Henry Bayer looks back on his time as Executive Director – and at the challenges ahead

Jun 30, 2014
Rauner all wrong for working families

A new – and dangerous – brand of Republican

Apr 09, 2014
Who's really "overtaxed"?

A fair tax would lower rates for most while meeting the state's needs

Feb 26, 2014
False premises, false promises

If Bruce Rauner wants to run Illinois like he ran his companies, we’ll all be the worse for it

Jan 03, 2014
Bruce Rauner's big lie

Don't believe the GOP frontrunner's folksy image – he's out to take away pensions and destroy public employee unions in Illinois

Nov 07, 2013
Investing in our future

The wealthy elite are spending millions to destroy the labor movement. We can't let that threat go unanswered.

Aug 28, 2013
The fortunate 14’s phony argument

Attacks on public service workers aren’t about equality. They’re about weakening the middle class.

Jun 26, 2013
A tale of two capitals

Democrats govern in both Springfield and St. Paul, but with very different results.

Apr 30, 2013
Worth the investment

Those obsessed with cutting government spending are ignoring history – and the needs of the middle class.

Feb 21, 2013
The word President Obama left out

The president wants to rebuild the middle class. That can’t happen without stronger unions.

Dec 19, 2012
Pensions, promises and pythons

Workers and retirees must turn out in force to defend their retirement security.

Oct 24, 2012
What really counts: It's the record,not the rhetoric

Obama's steady hand outweighs Romney's constant flipflops

Aug 31, 2012
We Won't Go Back!

If Mitt Romney is our next president we'll be heading backward union rights will be under far greater attack than anything we've seen thus far, driving wages and the middle class down even further. There's only one choice on Nov. 6.

Jul 11, 2012
Time to fight back -- We have to tell our story

Public employees don't deserve the attacks we're getting

Apr 30, 2012
Mar 05, 2012
Tax breaks for the rich; service cuts for the rest

Millions in tax breaks yield deep state budget cuts

Jan 05, 2012
Tax breaks for corporations deepen the budget hole

As state budget crisis deepens, more giveaways to the 1%.

Nov 09, 2011
Exposing the lies: Time to stand up

We have to talk about the economic and social value of the services we provide.

Oct 04, 2011
Threat to collective bargaining hits hard here at home

Illinois attacks come on heels of assaults in Wisconsin and other states

Aug 16, 2011
Hang on to your clunkers and fight back

The Mercedes drivers will roll over us if we let them

Jun 13, 2011
Political heavyweights team up with corporate elite on pensions

But public employees' defense scores a big win. This problem will not be solved on the backs of union members.

May 23, 2011
Influence buying tilts the playing field

Corporate dollars are paying for attacks on public employees and the middle class

Apr 06, 2011
Collective bargaining: Defend it or lose it

Attacks on unions won't stop until we stop them

Feb 23, 2011
Pension crisis must be tackled head on

We didn't make the problem, but we've got to help solve it.

Dec 23, 2010
Ho Ho Ho! The Senate played Santa to the nation's wealthiest

The holidays brought a bonanza of tax breaks to the non-needy.The rich and powerful on Wall Street celebrated with their stockings brimming and no space left under the tree for any more gifts.

Nov 12, 2010
Pundits drawing wrong conclusions from election results

The Republican wave will not deliver what voters were seeking.

Oct 07, 2010
It's no secret: Working families can't afford Brady

The senator has a record we can't ignore, including votes to cut pensions of all new hires -- state university, local government and school board -- and he supports cutting them for current employees, too.

Aug 13, 2010
Mark Kirk, not your usual flipflopper

The U.S. Senate candidate flipped on jobs bill; and that's a flop

Jun 29, 2010
Ulterior motives drive Daley's attack on public employees

Service cuts curry favor with his well-heeled friends

May 12, 2010
Race to top, race to bottom on collision course

Those promoting a better education are trying to cut the wages and benefits of those who get one.

Apr 07, 2010
Attack on pensions engineered by corporate elite

Legislative leaders ram through pension cuts

Feb 24, 2010
You don't get what you don't pay for

Government can't meet people's needs without tax dollars

Jan 08, 2010
Abysmal state finances harm every AFSCME member

We have to march in lock step to push for new revenues

Nov 16, 2009
Political games could spell calamity for Illinois

State services won't be delivered without new revenues

Oct 19, 2015
Copy of A man of his word? Not likely

Far from the villains that billionaire governor Bruce Rauner makes them out to be, Illinois' vital public servants make our state a better place.

Return to Executive Reports.