A Publication of WTVP

The word is out: InterBusiness Issues is officially on the UAW’s blacklist. (A Caterpillar UAW worker from Aurora, Illinois tells me, "Your publication is on a list of things we aren’t supposed to read.") I’ve been accused of "union bashing" for several months now. But those who look closely at the UAW-Cat labor dispute will find that the real issue is not "pro-union" vs. "anti-union." The real issue is "local control" vs. "out-of-area control."

The UAW’s Bill Casstevens recently said of the labor strike, "This is not just about this contract." Truer words have never been spoken. In fact, the current strike is not about local Caterpillar workers, or a company, or economic justice for laborers. It is about protecting a withering international labor organization badly out of touch with current business realities.

It’s funny how people keep pointing to the Peoria Civic Center as the crown jewel of area economic development and the biggest amenity of the community. A decade ago, people were griping about Mayor Dick Carver and his coalition ramming an unwanted center down the throats of the community. Today, many people are looking back and remembering Carver as a strong leader who, despite going against the wishes of many, recognized what was best for the community, and pushed the Civic Center into existence.

Peoria business leaders and developers are looking closely at the new downtown development plan submitted by Leonard Marshall Jr. and Philip Klump. The plan envisions the downtown area as a cultural, entertainment and recreation center for the entire central Illinois area, with an emphasis on riverfront development. Downtown museums, theaters and other entertainment attractions in conjunction with existing amenities, especially the Civic Center, would be the plan’s focus.

"Playing in Peoria" may not mean as much as it once did to market researchers. American Demographer magazine no longer lists Peoria on its Top 20 list of best test markets. Three other Illinois cities did make the list however: Springfield at No. 4, Bloomington at No. 7, and Rockford at No. 10. Although Peoria’s age and racial breakdown remained a match, its affordable housing prices apparently knocked it out of the running. Local analysts say that Peoria’s loss of population after the 1983 Caterpillar strike remains a significant reason why the city may not be as representative as it once was.

The Peoria area was once again in the national spotlight when NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw delivered a recent live newscast from the River City. The broadcast featured several local segments, including the views of a Caterpillar UAW worker on the national election, voter preferences in the Peoria area and a profile of the positive impact of riverboat gaming on the local economy.

What do NBA star Hersey Hawkins and Caterpillar Chairman Don Fites have in common? For one thing, they are about the same height. This became apparent at an October 2nd news conference when the two men stood side by side to announce a plan to help economically disadvantaged children in the Peoria area-"Points for Peoria." Fites announced that the Caterpillar Foundation will pledge $25 for every point that Philadelphia 76er star Hawkins scores during the 1992-93 NBA season. The money will be split evenly between the George Washington Carver Community Center and the Tri-County Peoria Urban League. Hawkins averaged 20 points per game in the NBA last season.

The events in the former Soviet Union are being watched closely by central Illinois farmers who have a considerable stake in that portion of the world. One out of every three bushels of Illinois corn are exported…and a third of those have been going to the Soviet market.

  • The Holiday Inn City Centre is the new name for the former Continental Regency Hotel in downtown Peoria.
  • The Peoria Park District hired (now former) Board President Bonnie Noble as the new director of parks and recreation.
  • Jumer’s Castle Lodge in Peoria was voted the third-best hotel in the Midwest by readers of Midwest Living magazine.
  • Vice President Dan Quayle stopped at Saint Francis Medical Center when he was in town in September to explain President Bush’s healthcare plan to employees and spectators.
  • Riverway Business Park, a 160-acre tract near the site of the future Federal Corrections Institution in Pekin, officially opened in October.

"Twenty years ago, the Peoria area economy had been growing almost without interruption for decades. The type of leadership that was appropriate then is not necessarily appropriate in a different kind of economy, an economy that experienced economic contraction within the last 10 years. In fact, some of the leadership void that we experienced in the 1980s was due to the fact that some of the earlier leaders were themselves displaced as a result of the economic problems. The lesson learned is that good leadership should also provide for succession."
-CILCORP President and CEO Robert O. Viets

"The evolving technology out there is also a challenge. We have a certain market position here which has the potential of being eroded by advancing technology…We may be in a position somewhere down the road where you can have a television and printer in your home, hooked up by a modem to our computer; we will give you a menu and you can select those portions of the paper that you want…call them up and print them out at home."
John McConnell, President and Publisher, Peoria Journal Star


  • Numerous long-awaited road projects in Illinois were completed this fall, including the final links in Interstate 39 from Bloomington/Normal to Rockford, and Interstate 155 from Morton to Lincoln. 
  • A highway to connect Peoria with Chicago is the number-one transportation wish of many Tri-County leaders in business and transportation. 
  • Automobile buyers in central Illinois have two new car dealerships to visit. The new Saturn of Peoria dealership is the immediate area’s only such dealership. Lexus of Peoria, owned by the John P. Pearl auto group, is the only dealership of its kind between Chicago and St. Louis.


"We have developed an image…which suggests that there are problems in labor-management relations in Peoria. In reality, labor-management relations in Peoria over the last 10 years have been relatively positive. The creation of the Peoria Area Labor Management Council (PALM) has helped to accomplish that. I believe we have a positive situation locally, but the perception outside of our community is still relatively negative. We have to work to correct that image."

-CILCORP President and CEO Robert O. Viets

"When PALM first started, the idea of labor and management coming together for cooperative purposes rather than the usual adversarial relations that develop over the bargaining table, was new for Peoria. It was important to try to set a context where labor and management could get to know each other and establish some trust."
David Koehler, executive director, Peoria Area Labor Management Council