Some say IDOT layoffs suspicious

ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- Members of one local labor union feel threatened by the Rauner Administration after it fired eight IDOT employees. One is the wife of a big time union boss in Springfield.

Rauner's administration and IDOT say they're continuing to get rid of "illegal hires" from when former governor Pat Quinn was in office. They add the positions do not have enough work to do to justify keeping them on the payroll. 

However, some sources say some positions are already posted looking for new bodies to fill the spots.

Eight IDOT employees received pink slips; their last day of work, August 15. But, it's those who were chosen which is causing controversy. One let go is the wife of a well-known union boss.

"They went after my wife, the mother of my children, all because of me and that's disgusting."

Another was the wife of the state director of US Senator Dick Durbin.

IDOT released a statement:
The employees who were issued layoff notices July 12 are being let go due to lack of work in the positions in which they are currently employed. The administration at the Illinois Department of Transportation has made it clear that it is committed to cleaning up past hiring mistakes and personnel practices. This action is another step in that process.

However, Schaive argues the statement does not represent the real reason behind the layoffs and says he's a target for representing thousands of blue collar workers.

"My wife's job is currently posted for a new person to be hired, put an individual in that position so, which one is it? Lack of work or because I run a labor union?"

Since taking office, Governor Rauner vowed to clean up past IDOT hires from Quinn's time in office. In April, his office issued the following statement: "Currently, at least 36 employees who were improperly hired into the IDOT staff positions remain employed with the state."

Now, lawyers are stepping in and it won't be the first time. They say IDOT employees have been targets for years because of unrelated connections in the community.

"Sniff out corruption and actions that are legal against working men and women for political gain. He's proven that and I trust he'll do it again."

Don Craven, a lawyer representing the members of Teamsters Local 916 says the union would "take all appropriate actions to defend the rights" of members.

Employees who got the boot preivously worked for another IDOT site called traffic safety.


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