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Tax Form Reveals Candidate Clayton Harris Led Corporate Campaign Against Union Rights and Worker Benefits

Feb 08, 2024


February 8, 2024

Tax Form Reveals Clayton Harris Was President and Chair of Corporate Campaign Against Union Rights and Worker Benefits

CHICAGO – Despite attempts to hide his role as a corporate lobbyist, a newly surfaced tax form reveals that in 2022, State’s Attorney candidate Clayton Harris was in fact leading a well-funded, anti-union campaign to deny workers fair wages, worksite protections like bathroom breaks, and the fundamental right to form a union.

According to this 990 tax filing, Clayton Harris was the Chair and President of the “Coalition for Independent Work” campaign, where he led political efforts to ensure workers were not treated as employees so they could be paid less than the minimum wage with no benefits.

“My father was a proud labor leader and after he passed away, his union life insurance benefits helped put me through college and become a lawyer. I’m a living example of the importance of unions, so it’s particularly troubling and personal to me that my opponent was leading the campaign to deny workers fair wages, benefits, and the right to organize,” said Justice O’Neill Burke. “If we want both safety and justice in Cook County, we need a State’s Attorney with the experience and values to defend working people, not attack their rights. My opponent’s record as an anti-union corporate lobbyist should give voters pause.”

Harris led the second half of the anti-worker campaign at the City of Chicago level once a campaign at the State legislature concluded. News reports at the time detailed their efforts to persuade City Council members to vote against minimum wages and fines for assaulting a rideshare driver.

For thirty years, Eileen O’Neill Burke served as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and judge. While Harris was working as a corporate lobbyist, Justice O’Neill Burke was sitting on the Appellate Court. She stepped down in 2023 to run for Cook County State’s Attorney.

According to the only publicly released poll in the race, Harris’s recent work experience is particularly concerning to likely Democratic primary voters.

Earlier this week, O’Neill Burke released the first television ad in the race for Cook County State’s Attorney, demonstrating growing momentum and support for her campaign. The new television spot is part of a significant, multi-week ad campaign that will air across cable and broadcast through Election Day on March 19.

O’Neill Burke has garnered wide support from across Cook County and organized labor including:

  • Congressman Mike Quigley
  • Ald. Felix Cardona
  • Ald. Pete Chico
  • Ald. Pat Dowell
  • Ald. Brian Hopkins
  • Ald. Debra Silverstein
  • Ald. Chris Taliaferro
  • State Rep. Margaret Croke
  • State Rep. Marty Moylan
  • State Sen. Laura Murphy
  • 43rd Ward Dem. Committeeperson Lucy Moog
  • Former 6th Ward Ald. Rod Sawyer
  • Southland Black Chamber of Commerce
  • International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Locals 150 and 399
  • Firefighters, Local 2
  • Pipefitters, Local 597 U.A.
  • Painters District Council 14
  • Sprinkler Fitters, Local 281 U.A.
  • Automobile Mechanics, Local 701
  • Joint Council 25 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Locals 134 and 9
  • Chicago Journey Plumbers, Local 130
  • Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, Local 11
  • Cook County Farm Bureau PAC

Up Next

In First Televised Debate of State’s Attorney’s Race, Eileen O’Neill Burke Unveils First-Ever “Choice Protection Unit” to Defend Abortion Rights, Highlights Experience, Vision for Safety and Justice

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