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In Illinois, unions work with legislators to help veterans

June 2nd, 2011  |  Matt Pavich

Although unions are under attack in most states, in Illinois at least one union is helping to write legislation.

On May 27, 2011, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1270 which requires the state to award at least three percent of all state contracts to veteran-owned businesses. The legislation states that no less than three percent “of the total dollar amount of State contracts, as defined by the Director of Central Management Services, shall be established as a goal to be awarded to service-disabled service disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB) and veteran-owned small businesses (referred to as VOSB.)” Such businesses must be at least 51 percent owned by a disabled veteran with a ten percent or greater disability that was incurred as a result of service in the armed forces and must certified as such by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Central Management Services. Businesses that attempt to fraudulently take advantage of the new law face at least a three-year revocation of their business license for a first offense and a five-year revocation for any subsequent offenses.

The bill was introduced on behalf of Teamsters Joint Council 25 and the Teamsters’ Helmets to Hardhats Program. Over four months, the union collaborated with other unions and legislators to secure the three percent guarantee. This legislation continues a trend, by the union, of working with, and training veterans and Michael Yauger, the Teamsters’ National Helmets to Hardhats Coordinator and Teamsters Local 786 President claims that the result shows what can happen when states work with unions

“The partnerships that Teamsters are developing with veterans throughout Illinois are leading examples for the support these men and women deserve nationwide,” said Michael L. Yauger, the. “This bill is a real solution between government and labor to get more veterans into the workforce.”

In an era in which unions are attacked as greedy and lazy, this legislation reminds us that unions can, when invited to the table, do an enormous amount of good.