Originally Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2012, 9:20 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 13, 2012, 12:11 am

Union Hall of Fame ceremony becomes Democratic rally

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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Hundreds of union members and supporters gathered Friday nightat the Isle of Capri in Bettendorfto induct three local labor stalwarts into the East Central Iowa Northwestern Illinois AFL-CIO Hall of Fame.

Honorees included former Congressman Phil Hare, of Rock Island; former American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees representative Gloria Ann Maring, who worked at Oak Glen Home; and the late Charles Clarke, who was a member of United Steelworkers Local 105 for 36 years.

Before the trio was inducted, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, a special guest at the event, delivered a rousing speech to rally union troops campaigning for Democrats ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

A co-chairwoman of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign,Rep. Schakowsky said Republicans want the economy to perform poorly so they can use it as a cudgel to hammer the president.

"I see every single day in the Congress sabotage -- and I use that word deliberately -- that the Republicans do to make sure that the economy does not move forward," she said.

"Their worst day was last week when we saw that the unemployment rate actually dropped below that 8 percent mark to 7.8 percent," Rep. Schakowsky said. "Did you notice how crabby they were about that? They don't want to see the economy get better."

Rep. Schakowsky served four terms in the Illinois House before being elected to Congress in 1998.

Democrat Cheri Bustos, of East Moline, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, in the 17th Congressional District on Nov. 6, also spoke at the event, as did U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon. Many Democratic candidates for local and state offices also were in attendance.

Now in its 21st year, the induction ceremony was sponsored by the Quad City Federation of Labor. After the inductees were honored in the Grand Ballroom at the Isle of Capri, the crowd finished the night by singing the labor anthem, Solidarity Forever.