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Strike two! AG shoots down another Rauner scheme

3/23/2015
Friday wasn’t a good day – for Governor Bruce Rauner, that is.
 
For the second time since taking office, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has shot down a Rauner scheme to harm unions and middle class families, this one under the guise of his “employee empowerment zones” (aka “right-to-work” — for less). Recently the AG also weighed in on the Governor’s illegal proposal to stop collecting legal fair share fees from some state employees who are not in the union.
 
Like his first proposal, Madigan says Rauner's "zones" idea is not legal, and would require a change in state law to be implemented. From her report:
‘It is my opinion that the National Labor Relations Act preempts counties and municipalities, as well as other political subdivisions of the State, units of local government, and school districts, from adopting local ordinances that regulate the use of union security agreements in all instances that impact interstate commerce. Further, even if not preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, it is my opinion that Illinois law does not authorize the creation, through the passage of a referendum, of local zones or areas wherein union security agreements will not be recognized.’
During numerous visits around the state, Rauner has been touting his latest anti-union proposal as offering local choice. But make no mistake - what he really wants is to establish so-called "right-to-work" zones statewide that could opt out of existing labor laws and provide workers with lower wages, fewer benefits, and more inequality.
 
Similar failed policies in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and other states have had a disastrous effect on workers and communities. And they would be wrong for Illinois.
 
State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) and Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) initiated the AG’s examination of the Governor’s proposal. Sen. Forby said he hopes Madigan’s opinion will put an end to the idea.
“I guess that’s that. The attorney general’s opinion makes it pretty clear this is a matter for state lawmakers, and the southern Illinois lawmakers I know -- on both sides of the aisle -- aren’t going to hurt working families.”
State AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said the AG’s opinion is a confirmation of what our unions have known all along and asked the Governor to finally start fixing the real problems facing our state.
“While Gov. Rauner continues his obsessive war on unions and the middle class, he just keeps running into huge road blocks – like the law … I think the people of the state would actually appreciate the Governor working on the pressing issues in front of us, instead of continually proposing illegal and politically-motivated fixes to non-existent problems."
The Governor’s general counsel has “respectfully disagreed” with the AG’s opinion and filed a response, which you can read on Capitol Fax.


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