Months after Gov. Pat Quinn signed a controversial plan to cut its members' retirement benefits, the state's largest teachers union is backing him for re-election.
The Illinois Education Association today announced their pick over Republican Bruce Rauner, a Winnetka businessman.
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The union's President Cinda Klickna said the endorsement means Quinn can receive campaign cash but pointed to its thousands of members as the backing's true value.
"We all know Gov. Quinn will be greatly outspent in this campaign," she said in a statement.
Rauner in his primary campaign often criticized "government union bosses" as part of the state's massive budget problem.
That helped lead the IEA and other unions to help Republican Kirk Dillard against Rauner, but Rauner was able to overcome the late-campaign barrage in March. Still, the support likely helped pull Dillard within a few points of Rauner.
Quinn has faced harsh criticism from public employee unions in the past few years because of his drive to cut their pension benefits. They sued over the new pensions law, and it's now up for review in the courts and won't be decided until long after the November election.
Quinn also supports an extension of the 2011 income tax hike past Jan. 1, a move union leaders support because of the possible cuts to schools if the state loses billions of dollars in revenue.
Rauner has staunchly opposed the extension.
"Bruce is committed to working with and for the teachers, parents and children who want better schools and a brighter future for Illinois," spokesman Mike Schrimpf said in a statement. "While Pat Quinn has decimated education funding, Bruce will make improving education a top priority."