Illinois Printers — A Printer’s Paradise
The fix of the 1919 World Series, as injustices go, pales in comparison to what Capone could pull off. Reportedly, half the police force was on his bankroll, and he had many of Chicago’s politicians in his hip pocket. In the end, the only criminal charge that ever stuck was tax evasion.
Chicago’s reputation as a pay-to-play city is unshakable, and it seems some old habits die hard. “New York is pretty unique in its relationship atmosphere, but Chicago is still pretty full of connections and they go throughout the state,” says one Illinois printer. “We haven’t had a governor recently that left office without going to jail, and it’s probably not going to end for a while. This is a very political state, and everything here is part of the machine.”
When Govenor Rod Blagojevich embarked on his successful 2002 campaign bid, he visited our unnamed printer friend. The execs talked to Blagojevich about a number of topics, such as the budget. Blagojevich soon asked, “And you’re union, right?” He didn’t like the answer he received.
“When we said ‘no,’ he nearly hit the ceiling,” the printer remarks. “It was the last we ever heard from him. But that’s the meat and potatoes of Chicago and Illinois.”
Still, don’t get us wrong. We love the Windy City, arguably world-class and easily one of the top cities in the United States. Anyone who can’t have “a hot time in the old town tonight” clearly isn’t trying. But Illinois isn’t just Chicago. It’s Rockford and Naperville, Joliet and Aurora, Springfield (woo-hoo) and the Peorias. Hell, it’s even Woodstock.
As for the printing side of Illinois, who can argue with success? At $12.8 billion in printing shipments (according to PIA/GATF Chief Economist Ronnie Davis and friends) Illinois is second in the nation only to California, but the Land of Lincoln gets bonus points for most sales shipments per plant. Likewise, only the Golden State employs more workers than Illinois, which has more than 80,000 on its payrolls. And, of course, the nation’s biggest printer, RR Donnelley, is headquartered in Illinois.