WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Rauner Ratchets Up Battle Against Unions

Feb 9, 2015

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on Monday banned so-called fair share union fees, calling them unconstitutional.

State employees can already opt out of joining a union, but Rauner's executive order would allow state employees to opt out of paying fees as well.

In issuing his executive order, Governor Rauner said, “A major reason why government unions are so dominant in Illinois is the decision to institute card check – forced unionizing – in state government.”
Credit Brian Mackey

The Republican governor said it violates the constitution to force people to pay dues when they don't necessarily agree with what the union is doing.

“America is about freedom of choice and empowering individuals to control their own lives and their own future. This is allowing the employees of state government the right to decide,” said Rauner.

Opponents said this allows free riders to benefit from the wage hikes and health care benefits unions negotiate without having to pay. 

The head of AFSCME, the state's largest public employees' union, said Rauner's order is blatant abuse of power, and said its members will work to overturn it. The General Assembly has 60 days to do that.