SPRINGFIELD -- Union members and their leaders took the Illinois governor to task Wednesday in a huge demonstration of union power and their demands for better contracts.
It comes as Bruce Rauner, on a visit to Southern Illinois, emphasized job creation, something he says can't happen without some union concessions.
Either way, this titanic battle of wills shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
"We say fight back," said thousands of Illinois union members, as they marched on the Capitol Wednesday to show their anger at Governor Rauner.
They blame him for trying to limit union influence, and vetoing a bill to force stalled talks to an arbitrator.
"Governor Rauner is determined to ram through his extreme and hurtful agenda and he doesn't care about how much damage he inflicts on you in that process," said Illinois AFL-CIO leader Michael Carrigan.
Rauner disputes that point, saying unions need to better understand needs of small business.
"If we don't have small business thriving, we're not solving any problems," he said. "We're not gonna solve pensions, we're not gonna have a balanced budget, we're not funding our healthcare."
This battle of wills continues as the state nears one year without a budget.
Political experts say the governor's veto won't help him down the road.
"I think this is likely a short-term victory for the governor. Long term, Democrats are not going to allow that to happen, unions are not going to allow that to happen," explained John Jackson of SIU's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
And as the Springfield crowd hammered away at the governor for his union-weakening demands, Rauner stressed labor leaders seem to have forgotten that without business, Illinois has no jobs.
"If you're growing, our economy's growing. We get better jobs, we get higher family incomes. If you're struggling, if you can't compete, nobody's doing good," he said.
Senate President John Cullerton, speaking to the crowd, noted that because of union influence, Illinois members make more money than workers in non-union states.
The question seems to come in finding out how, or how much longer, taxpayers of Illinois can pick up that tab.