Gov. Bruce Rauner says his plan to privatize the state's economic development agency will improve job creation in Illinois. But similar plans in other states and even in Chicago have sometimes raised concerns about transparency and oversight, with taxpayers not always knowing how their money was being spent.
Rauner's plan, currently being considered by the Illinois General Assembly, would turn much of the development work of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity over to a new not-for-profit corporation.
Categories: State Issues
Tags: Bruce Rauner, Economy
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
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.
Categories: State Issues, National Issues
Tags: Bruce Rauner
As Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner sets his sights on limiting the influence of unions in Illinois, he's pushing an idea he's dubbed "empowerment zones" — areas across the state where voters could decide if workers in their communities should be forced to join a union or pay associated dues.
It's a variation of what is more commonly called "right to work" — rules put in place at a statewide level to prevent unions from requiring workers who decline membership to pay related fees to cover the cost of collective bargaining they still benefit from. The concept, which generally applies to private-sector unions, has gained traction among conservative politicians across the nation as states try to spur economic growth following a brutal recession that saw businesses close and tax dollars dry up.
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.