Illinois' Democratic attorney general on Friday delivered a blow to Gov. Bruce Rauner's efforts to weaken labor unions, saying two of the main ideas the Republican has been pitching across the state would be illegal.
Lisa Madigan issued formal opinions at the request of Democratic lawmakers who anticipated legislation would be proposed after Rauner first trumpeted his plans in his State of the State speech last month.
One proposal would allow voters to create "right-to-work zones" in Illinois counties where union membership and dues would be voluntary. The other would let local governments or school districts opt out of prevailing wage agreements, which require workers on public works projects to receive wages that reflect local compensation for similar jobs.
Categories: State Issues
Tags: Organized Labor, Bruce Rauner, Lisa Madigan
Vickie Oriekaose is in her third week of free classes to get certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist, which she hopes will help her land a job that offers decent pay. Microsoft estimates that people who are certified can make as much as $16,000 a year more than workers who aren't accredited.
"I'm trying to get back into the workforce," said the 58-year-old widow, who has been a stay-at-home mom. Oriekaose has a son who is a senior in high school, and twins who are sophomores.
Tags: Budget, Bruce Rauner, Cuts
Facing a need to cut costs, the Will County Forest Preserve District may phase out some popular events in the next year or two, including two family-oriented bicycle rides, and offer early retirement to reduce its staff by 10 employees.
District officials also propose limiting the number of events by outside organizations and increasing fees for those events to better cover the costs as the district grapples with a budget shortfall of about $400,000 this fiscal year.
The district is seeking to limit events to reduce staff time and liability and accommodate regular visitors to its preserves, said Ralph Schultz, the district's director of planning and operations. The goal is to gradually eliminate events held at preserves and trails and focus on hosting events at the six visitor centers that are designed for large crowds
Categories: Local Issues
Tags: Budget, Forest Preserve, Cuts
State employee unions on Thursday sued to block Gov. Bruce Rauner’s attempt to withhold fees unions receive from nonmembers, calling his executive order a “patently illegal” attempt to weaken organized labor ahead of new contract negotiations.
The group of 26 labor unions — representing employees ranging from police officers to painters — alleges that Rauner’s order violates state law, goes against numerous collective bargaining agreements and is beyond the scope of his executive authority. The unions asked a judge in Downstate St. Clair County to put a stop to the decree and allow unions access to the fees while the legal process plays out.
“We’re asking the court to restore the integrity of our democratic process and make clear that no one, not Gov. Rauner or anyone else, can place themselves above the law,” Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said in a statement.
Tags: Organized Labor, Bruce Rauner
The state became Annie Audenas' substitute parent in the mid-1990s after Illinois child welfare officials said they found evidence of neglect in her family and placed the infant in protective custody.
Audenas was adopted by age 3 but the arrangement soured during her rebellious teen years and she returned to state care. She attended five high schools and became a mother, all by the age of 16.
Despite the odds, Audenas is now a 20-year-old college student working toward a degree in human resource management while raising her daughter in Naperville and holding down a part-time job. She credits Illinois' long-standing practice of supporting older foster youth for a few extra years beyond age 18 with helping her to succeed.
Tags: Budget, Bruce Rauner
Click here to see 2014 Candidates