Rauner signs executive order to promote diversity

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- In an effort to promote racial diversity, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order Monday requiring state agencies and contractors to report how many minorities and veterans are in training programs.

The new governor's executive order affects not only state contractors, but the trade unions some of those contractors employ. Rauner wants to know if those labor organizations - carpenters, pipe fitters, operating engineers and others - are sending diverse work forces, including veterans, to state funded projects.

"I want to see firsthand in the light of day what is going on in the training programs and apprentice programs in the organizations that contract with the state," Rauner said.

Activist Mark Carter says when it comes to African-Americans, the governor will find few black trade union members and apprentices in labor organizations that do the work on state contracts worth billions:

"The union should be defunded on every state project that does not include us," Carter said.

"We're hopeful that the studies the governor's looking at will call that out so you can see you need to focus on specific areas and specific industries," said Andrea Zopp of the Chicago Urban League.

Rauner, who proposed non-union "right to work zones" during his campaign, was asked about his new interest in minority hiring. Last summer, Democrats pointed out Rauner's private investment firm GTCR had no African-Americans on its professional staff. Rauner says that's in the past/

"My new job is to make sure that government is run right and reflects the community that is being served," he said. "And I'm going to do that job well."
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