Illinois Gov. Rauner Looking to Gut Public Employee Unions

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner wasted no time joining a growing gang of right-wing governors who attack the rights of workers.

Less than a month after the private equity CEO took office, Rauner took executive action to block public employee unions from collecting fair share fees from workers. More than 6,500 state employees in Illinois pay fair share fees in lieu of union dues to cover collective bargaining costs that benefit them. State law requires unions to represent all workers in a collective bargaining unit, whether they are a union member or not.

“Bruce Rauner’s scheme to strip the rights of state workers and weaken their unions by executive order is a blatantly illegal abuse of power,” said AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch.

Rauner has already hired a legal team to hold off inevitable challenges to the order, which bypassed the state legislature.

“Our union and all organized labor will stand together with those who believe in democracy to overturn Bruce Rauner’s illegal action and return the integrity of the rule of law,” said Lynch.

Rauner announced in his State of the State address that he also wants to ban political contributions by public employees and allow “right-to-work” (for less) laws in local communities.

So-called “right-to-work” laws mean workers don’t have to pay for union representation in collective bargaining, even when a majority of their coworkers have voted to be represented by a union. The laws weaken the ability of unions to bargain on behalf of workers and claims that the laws improve business competitiveness have been continuously discredited.

Several counties in Kentucky have recently passed local “right-to-work” laws, but IAM members helped defeat one of the measures in Clark County.