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' 'a billionaire who makes $7.36 a second wants to wage war on low-income people...' Chicago Teachers Union breaks billionaire's proposal to reduce Illinois minimum wage

Less than 24 hours after Bruce Rauner, the billionaire Republican candidate for governor of Illinois, declared on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty that Illinois should reduce, not increase, its minimum wage. The response of the Chicago Teachers Union was quick and decisive, bringing with it a note of humor from CTU researchers: That the man who wanted to reduce the minimum wage for the working poor himself was "earning" about the same amount every second because of the structure of finance capitalism in 2014.

CTU President Karen Lewis issued a challenge to Rauner to try and live on the minimum wage for three months. "I challenge Bruce Rauner to live on $7.25 for 90 days, without government assistance, access to his overflowing bank accounts and the financial support of his family and friends. I challenge him to accept a job that pays $7.25 an hour, without the promise of a 40-hour work week, and show us how he can maintain a family of four on those earnings and under the condition of uncertainty," Lewis said in a statement.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin. January 8, 2014 Desk: (312) 329-6250

Chicago billionaires Baruce Rauner found it almost impossible to speak when he was forced to be on WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" seated alongside Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey. CTU President says 'a billionaire who makes $7.36 a second wants to wage war on low-income people'

CHICAGO-Chicago Teachers Union President (CTU) Karen Lewis today denounced GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner for vowing to reduce the minimum wage for millions of Illinois workers to a paltry $7.25 an hour should he become governor. She said the billionaire businessman, who owns 10 multi-million dollar luxury homes and an $18 watch is a failed charter school leader who continues to prove he is the wrong person to lead Illinois.

"Rauner's call for a rollback in the state's minimum wage proves he is the wrong person to lead Illinois," Lewis said. "Rauner is out-of-touch with working people who struggle to feed and clothe their families, pay utilities, afford medicine and keep a roof over their heads. His proposal is hypocritical considering last year he made more per second than those who would fare under his plan. We not only call for a living wage, but support the Fight for Fifteen, a statewide campaign that would raise the minimum wage to a livable $15.00 per hour."

Recently, Governor Pat Quinn echoed President Barack Obama's call to support a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The additional money that would come to Illinois' economy would go a long way in creating new jobs.

The CTU president said it is ironic that billionaire Rauner, who reported $53 million in earnings last year or $7.36 per second is calling for a reduction in the state's minimum wage. "While he sits back and ponders where to take his next exotic vacation or which mansion to lay his head, others are trying to survive in a climate of foreclosures, rising medical costs, and the shuttering of neighborhood schools. Instead of pledging a war on poverty he is vowing to advance a war on poor and working-class people."

Lewis took to Twitter to issue a challenge to the GOP frontrunner: "I challenge Bruce Rauner to live on $7.25 for 90 days, without government assistance, access to his overflowing bank accounts and the financial support of his family and friends. I challenge him to accept a job that pays $7.25 an hour, without the promise of a 40-hour work week, and show us how he can maintain a family of four on those earnings and under the condition of uncertainty."

The CTU also blasted Rauner's latest round of political commercials touting the benefits of charter schools, considering the billionaire oversaw the failure of a charter operation in 2010. The wealthy politician is tied to Academy of Communications And Technology Charter (ACT) as chairman and donated over half a million to the school. Within 3 years of its inception in 1997, ACT was placed under review by CPS for poor performance.

In 2010 the ACT board of directors, including Bruce Rauner, voted to suspend its charter and close its school due to chronic low performance and pressure from Chicago Public Schools. Suspension meant that ACT could maintain their charter while students had to enroll elsewhere. ACT re-opened two years later as a KIPP school in a co-share with Nash elementary. Despite his failures as the head of ACT, Noble Street named one of its charter campuses after Rauner following a large donation to the group.

"Make no mistake about it, Rauner is anti-public education, anti-worker, anti-working class and poor people," Lewis said. "His latest proposal to lower the minimum wage only illustrates his ongoing contempt for society's most vulnerable."

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