Rauner Eliminates Union Shop for State Employees

A press release from Governor Bruce Rauner (emphasis in the original):

Gov. Bruce Rauner Eliminates Unfair Share Dues for Government Employees

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner today signed Executive Order 15-13 eliminating unfair share dues for state employees who do not wish to fund government union activities and positions with which they may disagree.

The governor’s actions come after an extensive legal review of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Harris v. Quinn. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act violated the First Amendment by forcing certain state employees to involuntarily pay fees to a labor union.

Bruce Rauner speaking to the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Bruce Rauner speaking to the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce.

In light of that decision, the Rauner administration has concluded that the so-called “fair share” provisions of the current collective bargaining agreements, that are similar to those invalidated by the Supreme Court in Harris v. Quinn, are also unconstitutional.

“Forced union dues are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers. Government union bargaining and government union political activity are inexorably linked,” Governor Rauner said. “An employee who is forced to pay unfair share dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree. That is a clear violation of First Amendment rights – and something that, as governor, I am duty-bound to correct.”

The executive order allows state employees who wish not to support government unions’ activities to stop paying the forced fees. It has no impact on those employees who wish to remain paying members of the union and fund union activities out of their paychecks.

Additional Background:

  • The federal government prohibited the forced collection of union dues in 1978 as part of the Civil Service Reform Act signed by President Jimmy Carter. That law passed the U.S. Senate 87-1 and the U.S. House of Representatives 365-8. Illinois Senator Charles Percy was one of the co-sponsors.
  • 29 other states have laws that prohibit government entities from forcing public workers join or financially support labor organizations that they do not support.
  • While Harris v. Quinn only decided the constitutional issue as it relates to a subset of Illinois state employees (home care workers), the Supreme Court’s majority opinion found that much of the landmark case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education was ”questionable on several grounds.”
  • Notably, the Supreme Court said in Harris v. Quinn:

o   “Abood failed to appreciate the conceptual difficulty of distinguishing in public-sector cases between union expenditures that are made for collective-bargaining purposes and those that are made to achieve political ends. In the private sector, the line is easier to see. Collective bargaining concerns the union’s dealings with the employer; political advocacy and lobbying are directed at the government. But in the public sector, both collective-bargaining and political advocacy and lobbying are directed at the government.”

o   “Abood failed to appreciate the difference between the core union speech involuntarily subsidized by dissenting public-sector employees and the core union speech involuntarily funded by their counterparts in the private sector. In the public sector, core issues such as wages, pensions, and benefits are important political issues, but that is generally not so in the private sector. In the years sinceAbood, as state and local expenditures on employee wages and benefits have mushroomed, the importance of the difference between bargaining in the public and private sectors has been driven home.”

  • “Recent experience has borne out this concern. See DiSalvo, The Trouble with Public Sector Unions, National Affairs No. 5, p. 15 (2010) ( ‘In Illinois, for example, public-sector unions have helped create a situation in which the state’s pension funds report a liability of more than $100 billion, at least 50% of it unfunded’).”

o   “A union’s status as exclusive bargaining agent and the right to collect an agency fee from non-members are not inextricably linked. For example, employees in some federal agencies may choose a union to serve as the exclusive bargaining agent for the unit, but no employee is required to join the union or to pay any union fee. Under federal law, in agencies in which unionization is permitted, ‘each employee shall have the right to form, join, or assist any labor organization, or to refrain from any such activity, freely and without fear of penalty or reprisal, and each employee shall be protected in the exercise of such right.’”


Rauner Eliminates Union Shop for State Employees — 11 Comments

  1. Bruce has the right idea, all unions should be eliminated for the good of the taxpayers.

  2. Maybe all businesses should also be eliminated.

    They all have their greedy hands out for tax breaks, write offs, et a lot of crony capitalism.

    Everyone in a union can opt out of giving to political parties with their funds, they just have to follow a procedure.

    I wonder if everyone will be happy when Rauner dictates that every worker should make no more than $20 per hour.

    Those pensions were bargained for and in McHenry County some foolish Republican official elected by people like the above voted them in.

    Cities are supposed to contribute yearly but bi partisan fools used the money for something else, just like Bush made the Iraq war off the books and now we are paying for it.

  3. Tinkerbelle: Why all unions?

    Private unions are not funded by taxpayers.

    Why should they be eliminated?

    How about you start by demanding that your REPUBLICAN county board stop taking a pension.

    Or maybe your townships?

    How about your municipal employees….?

    So easy to blame Springfield but not look at your own back yard.

  4. How come McHenry County has such a surplus of our taxes.

    They could afford to pay their pension obligations and lower property taxes, but it is all about control, power and money.

    Republicans act like they are so law abiding and good look at your congressman Aaron Schock from Illinois.

    Look at Rauner who made his money handling the same pension funds he wants to gut now.

    The truth is everyone needs a living wage, universal healthcare, and a decent retirement.

    If other industrialized countries can do it we can or don’t call us the greatest country in the world.

    Now John McCain wants to get rid of the Jones Act which deals with ports and let South Korea and the Phillipines own and operate our sovereign ports.

    Don’t fool yourself; countries won’t have to use weapons when our officials want to give it to them for the lowest wages and for the lobbying money they give to US politicians.

    Say no to TPP the trade agreement too, or foreign countries, businesses and courts will supercede our laws while foolish republicans argue over Sharia law and Muslims.

  5. The public sector collective bargaining process in Illinois is a mess.

    Public sector unions are able to get this or that added to a collective bargaining agreement.

    During that process the public rarely (in most cases never) is able to view, comment, or heaven forbid vote on any proposed changes, even though the public through taxes and fees provides the funding for any hikes.

    Sometimes in local boards, there is not even a board member on the negotiating committee, just the administration and union and any 3rd parties they bring to the table.

    Once a hike is added added, it’s extremely difficult to take anything out, without giving up something in return, due to various labor laws, case law, and boards who cave in to union demands since often the elected board member was elected through union campaign contributions, votes, and electioneering assistance.

    Since the government is a monopoly and so is the union, the service the government provides is a monopoly, and so is the labor providing that service.

    So if an employee wants to opt out of the union, the employee still must pay reduced fees (fair share fees), the logic being that since the opt out employee is benefiting from some union services, they should pay for it; the counter argument being why should an employee be forced to pay for something they don’t want.

    Legislators and Governors hiking pension and retiree healthcare benefits is another example of unions and politicians being in cahoots to extract taxpayer dollars.

    The ladder for the most part only goes up in both cases.

    The way things have evolved in Illinois, you can hardly ever go down a rung, irregardless of affordability, just pile on more taxes or reduce services.

    And in both cases there is not nearly enough transparency in the entire process from proposing a change to a agreement / contract or law, to taxing the taxpayer.

    It’s a complete mess.

    There is nothing wrong with unions, it’s the rules and laws that apply to the union that is the big problem, more so in the public sector because the union and politician can be in cahoots at the taxpayers expense, since there is not competition.

    Thank goodness there are states.

    If people or business decide taxes are too high they can move out or not move in, and that’s the dilemma Illinois now faces.

    Pensions, retiree healthcare, collective bargaining agreements, and employee benefits are all areas where there is ample opportunity for the public sector unions and administrators to take advantage of the taxpayer.

    Public sector workers deserve rights.

    So do taxpayers.

    It’s not a level playing field in Illinois right now.

  6. Here is a YouTube Video of the press conference.

    Reboot Illinoia

    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announces executive order eliminating compulsory union dues.

    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner holds a Statehouse press conference on Feb. 9 to announce his executive order ending “fair share” dues for state employees who choose to not be members of unions that oversee collective bargaining in their workplaces.

    February 9, 2015

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