14

Feb

2015

A War on Workers in Illinois

Author: Editor

As one of his first official acts, the new Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, issued an executive order this week that would weaken state unions by barring them from assessing fees on some of the workers they represent in collective bargaining. Worse, the damage from the order could reach far beyond Illinois.

At issue are so called “fair share” fees. In a unionized workplace, a union must extend collectively bargained pay raises and other benefits to nonmembers. The nonmembers — about 15 percent of unionized state employees in Illinois — do not have to pay union dues or contribute to the union’s political activities. Instead, under the law in Illinois and in many other states, they must pay the union a fair-share fee, which is less than full dues, to cover the cost of collective bargaining undertaken on their behalf.

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6

Feb

2015

The dangers of Illinois as a 'right to work' state

Author: Editor

Gov. Rauner has asked state and local lawmakers to consider adopting union-free business zones. So let’s imagine Illinois as a “right to work” state.

First a clarification. The phrase “right to work” is a misnomer that has little to do with the right of a person to seek and accept gainful employment. Anti-union proponents use “right to work” to refer to an option under federal labor law that allows workers employed by a unionized employer to receive the full benefits of a labor contract without paying for any of the cost to gain those benefits. In fact, no employee anywhere in the country has to join a union and no employer has to sign a labor agreement.

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5

Dec

2014

U.S. House grants longer use of Will County landfill

Author: Editor

A bill that would allow Will County to continue to use the Prairie View Landfill in Florence Township for an additional 15 years passed the U.S. House on Thursday, with bipartisan support from U.S. Reps. Bill Foster, D-11th, and Adam Kinzinger, R-16th.

The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2015, which has yet to be voted on in the Senate, included a provision inserted by Kinzinger and Foster that allows Will County to continue using the 455-acre dump on the site of the former Joliet Arsenal through 2041.

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22

Nov

2014

Local legislators look for more court guidance on pension reform

Author: Editor

Local lawmakers will look for guidance from the Illinois Supreme Court after a judge’s decision Friday to strike down a law intended to fix the state pension crisis.

Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz ruled Friday the pension overhaul was unconstitutional. In the same afternoon, the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office announced plans to immediately appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.

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20

Nov

2014

Will County budget passes along party lines

Author: Editor

In a vote split down party lines, the Will County Board approved a $465 million spending plan Thursday that includes a property tax increase for residents.

The increase amounts to about $5.50 more per year in Will County’s portion of the tax bill for residents with a $200,000 home. Some of the money also will be used for long-term capital projects.

The vote was split 13-13 with Democrats voting for the increase and Republicans voting against. County Executive Larry Walsh cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the proposed budget. The new budget year starts Dec. 1.

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