SCHAUMBURG – It is cruel and wrong to suggest COVID can be prevented by the state’s economic destruction, Technology & Manufacturing Association’s Steve Rauschenberger wrote in a strongly-worded letter to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker this week.
Rauschenberger was responding to Pritzker’s controversial 5-Phase COVID “Restore Illinois” plan – which would cause the state of Illinois to be in a lockdown of different stages for the unforeseen future.
Rauschenberger said his 700 TMA manufacturing members worked hard to protect their employees and comply with the governor’s orders from the earliest stages of the 2020 COVID crisis. However, because critical adjustments were being made to keep workplaces safe for employees, that needed to be under consideration for the future.
“… [N]ow that we understand the scope of the pandemic, have avoided overwhelming the medical care system, and can target those most at risk, clearly a modified approach is warranted,” Rauschenberger wrote. “No one wants anyone to die, from COVID, or from any other cause, but realistically, it is cruel and wrong to lead people to believe that the continued economic destruction of Illinois jobs and businesses can prevent all future COVID cases…”
Rauschenberger asked that Pritzker either withdraw the plan or exempt manufacturers from its strict guidelines.
May 14, 2020
The Honorable JB Pritzker Governor of Illinois
Office of the Governor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
I am the President of the Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA), an Association of nearly 700 manufacturing companies with more than 30,000 employees in the greater Chicago region. I am writing to you to object to your Administration’s recently released Five Phase Plan for Reopening Illinois.
While I have little doubt that the staff that assembled this plan had good intentions, the effects and implications of this plan are very damaging to millions of Illinoisans. Clearly, the dimensions of this pandemic were hard to ascertain in January, February, and March, and to their credit TMA members and citizens and businesses all over Illinois have cooperated with your initial efforts to protect the People of Illinois.
But now that we understand the scope of the pandemic, have avoided overwhelming the medical care system, and can target those most at risk, clearly a modified approach is warranted. No one wants anyone to die, from COVID, or from any other cause, but realistically, it is cruel and wrong to lead people to believe that the continued economic destruction of Illinois jobs and businesses can prevent all future COVID cases.
As I am sure your staff has made you aware, Illinois manufacturers have a very fine OSHA safety record, and no Illinois manufacturers have been COVID “hot spots”. Our companies highly value their employees and are very concerned about making sure working conditions are as safe as possible.
With all due respect, the TMA and the manufacturers and employees we represent are formally asking you to either withdraw this plan, or at a minimum exempt all manufacturing operated within CDC and OSHA guidelines from your order.
In addition, we would ask that you direct your Administration to publicly provide the following information:
1. Precisely who are the “experts” that are guiding the Governor’s COVID planning?
2. Who are the economic advisors that are a part of the Governor’s planning team?
3. Why is there significant divergence between the Administration’s COVID fatality numbers and those report by the Center for Disease Control?
4. Will the Governor’s office release the expert reports, documents, and the detailed statistical model they are using for projecting the risk to Illinois citizens?
5. Is any other state, or any other country planning to extend their police powers until there is a vaccine?
6. What statutory authority is the Executive Branch operating under that allows it to unilaterally extend these emergency police powers and project them indefinitely without specific notice and right of appeal or judicial review?
7. What does your staff estimate the economic cost to Illinois citizens of the emergency actions to date?
8. What do they believe the daily cost of extending this limited shelter in place?
9. Currently how many Illinois families are unemployed as a direct result of Executive Branch actions?
The TMA stands ready to help or advise your staff as they think through changing this plan to more appropriately address the current threat level of the pandemic; and would be happy to meet with you or any of your staff to discuss our request.
Steven J. Rauschenberger
Technology & Manufacturing Association