By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — State workers who do not agree with their union’s political activities would not have to pay dues under an executive order signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“As governor, I’m duty-bound to correct,” forced dues, Rauner said at an afternoon noons conference.
The order is sure to be challenged by unions in court.
The executive order would allow a union worker who wishes to withhold the dues to put the money into a special account until a court decides whether Rauner’s move passes the legal test.
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, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“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.”
Rauner said the order has no impact on those employees who wish to remain paying members of the union and fund union activities out of their pay checks.
AFSCME executive director Roberta Lynch said Rauner’s order was “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,” Lynch said.
“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.”