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Angry Union Protest Prompts Quinn To Cut Short State Fair Rally

Gov. Pat Quinn (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Gov. Pat Quinn (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – Gov. Pat Quinn received anything but a warm welcome at the Illinois State Fair on Wednesday, when a huge crowd of union protesters booed the governor as he took the stage.

The traditional Governor’s Day celebration turned into a truncated attempt by unionized state workers to be heard about their grievances regarding pay, pensions, and other benefits.

Some in the crowd shouted “Liar!” at Quinn, while others chanted “Respect Illinois workers” as the governor tried to speak over them.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

Union members upset over withheld pay raises and attempts to water down pensions and retiree health insurance covered the Director’s Lawn at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, where Quinn was on stage. They wore green T-shirts with such legends as “Don’t Balance the Budget on Our Backs,” and “Governor Quinn, Scott Walker’s Twin.”

They also topped themselves by hiring an airplane pulling a banner: “Pat Quinn Unfair to Workers.”

Quinn was at the microphone for only two minutes. The Democratic Party rally, which was supposed to last two hours, was shortened to 20 minutes.

Before leaving the stage, the governor said taxpayers support his efforts to cut labor costs and get rid of what he calls a “pension piggybank” for state employees.

House Speaker Michael Madigan and Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon were also booed during at Governor’s Day, the traditional rally for the political party controlling the governor’s office.