Illinois Union Coalition vs. Fair Share Fee Ban

BELLEVILLE, Ill.—A coalition of 26 unions, led by AFSCME District Council 31, have united to battle Illinois GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner’s order eliminating state worker unions’ rights to collect even “fair share” fees from so-called “free riders.”

 

Rauner’s order not only violates the state constitution but a 31-year-old state “fair share fee” law as well, the coalition union said in regards to the lawsuit filed early March in Belleville.

 

Rauner responded by denouncing “corrupt union bosses” and asking the U.S. District Court in Chicago to rule for his order.  The union coalition is fighting that, too.  Rauner also ordered his state comptroller to put the fair share fees – $3.75 million yearly – into an escrow account.  The comptroller refused, citing a legal opinion from the state attorney general, but Rauner ordered executive branch agencies to withhold the money anyway.

 

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court majority ruled that Illinois home health care workers and personal care workers – some of whom AFSCME represented – are not state employees. Thus they did not have to even send in fair share fees to the unions, AFSCME and the Service Employees, which represent them on the job.

 

The anti-worker National Right to Work Committee rounded up the dissenting workers in that case and financed it.  The justices decided it on 1st Amendment free-speech grounds.

 

Since he won election, Rauner extended the ban on union fee collection to all state “fair share” workers who are represented by the unions, and using their services, but who are not members.  The unions represent some 40,000 state workers, including the 6,300 “fair share” free riders.  The suit says Rauner is purposefully attempting to weaken the unions.

 

Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said Rauner intends to hurt “the men and women who do the real work of state government…first responders, nurses, caregivers and corrections officers.

 

“They plow the snow, protect children, care for veterans and do many other tough, essential jobs that benefit all Illinois residents.  Gov. Rauner’s political obsession with stropping their rights and driving down their wages demeans their service, hurts the middle class and is blatantly illegal.”

 

Besides AFSCME, SEIU and the state federation, unions suing the governor include the Teamsters, the Illinois Nurses Association, the Laborers, the Bakery Confectionery Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers, the Operating Engineers, the Machinists, the Bricklayers, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Carpenters, the Electrical Workers, UFCW, the Painters, the Plumbers and Allied Trades, and two police associations.

 

Source: PAI