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Amid Union Protest, Quinn Breaks Ground On Joliet Transportation Center

Gov. Pat Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Unionized state workers upset over state cutbacks tried to disrupt the governor on Friday at the ground-breaking for a project preparing for high-speed rail in Joliet.

Quinn had to speak over the din of chanting workers as he broke ground on the new transportation hub.

Quinn said the future is private jobs like those that this project in Joliet will create.

The $42 million project will overhaul the rail center there. It is a key stop on the Chicago-to-St. Louis high-speed rail line.

Quinn made the point that for state workers, the past is the past.

“They have had two contracts in the past eight years that have raised their wages by 45 percent,” Quinn said. “That’s far beyond the cost of living. Our state obviously has fiscal challenges.”

The average salary for unionized state workers is $62,770, Quinn said. The governor noted that there is a union-run youth camp in Murphysboro that currently has no youths attending the facility.

The transportation center is slated to be finished by 2015.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports