Analyzing Rauner’s Executive Order Aimed at Unions

The governor's move to allow state workers who don't want to join a union to opt out of paying fees that support collective bargaining is already generating a lot of pushback from organized labor. There is a strong possibility that it will be the United States Supreme Court that has the final say. Our panel weighs in on Gov. Rauner's executive order, its likely impact, and its legality. Joining us are Anders Lindall, public affairs director for AFSCME Council 31, Bob Bruno, professor at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Diana Rickert, director of media relations at the Illinois Policy Institute, and Jacob Huebert, senior attorney at the Illinois Policy Institute. 

Read Rauner's executive order.

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Read AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch's response to Rauner's executive order.

“Child protection workers, caregivers for veterans and the disabled, correctional officers and everyone else employed by state government has a right to a voice at work and in the democratic process through their union.

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.

Perhaps as a private equity CEO Rauner was accustomed to ignoring legal and ethical standards, but Illinois is still a democracy and its laws have meaning.

It is crystal clear by this action that the governor’s supposed concern for balancing the state budget is a paper-thin excuse that can’t hide his real agenda: Silencing working people and their unions who stand up for the middle class.

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

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, issued the following statement in response to Rauner’s executive order:

"Governor Rauner's actions may give Illinois public employees the Right to Work protections they so desperately need and deserve. These are bold steps to protect Illinois state employees' rights not to pay tribute to union bosses as a condition of working as public servants.

Unfortunately, union officials won’t give up their forced dues power easily. In addition to fighting Governor Rauner in court, it won't be surprising to see them make it difficult for workers to exercise their rights. State employees who try to exercise those rights may encounter stonewalling, intimidation, or harassment at the hands of union officials.

State employees who want to learn more about their rights, or experience abuse or intimidation while exercising their rights, should contact the Foundation immediately toll-free at 800-336-3600 or via email at [email protected]. We look forward to providing legal assistance to Illinois state employees who want to exercise their rights not to pay union fees."

View the map below to see which states have right-to-work laws.

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