Illinois Gov. Rauner Ends Mandatory Union Dues for State Workers

Published February 23, 2015

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has ended the practice of “fair share dues,” a policy requiring public employees who opt out of union membership to continue having dues deducted from their paycheck.

At a February 9 press conference, Rauner said, “an employee who is forced to pay unfair share dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree.

Anticipating Legal Challenges

The executive order allows unions to continue to collect dues from employees who choose membership in the union.

Illinois Policy Institute Director of Jobs and Growth Michael Lucci says Rauner’s executive order is setting the groundwork for expected legal challenges.

“What Gov. Rauner’s executive order is effectively suggesting is, withholding fair share dues is unconstitutional according to the U.S. Constitution,” Lucci said. “His executive order is saying that the Illinois law mandating fair share violates the constitutional rights of those workers.”

Lucci says the U.S. Supreme Court may take up a similar case from California, creating a precedent for upholding Rauner’s order.

“There is already a case in California that will directly confront this issue,” he said. “It would not be surprising if Rauner’s executive action will be deemed constitutional, by precedent, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the California case, as expected, by June 2016.”

Ahead of His Time’

“Gov. Rauner is a little bit ahead of his time,” F. Vincent Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said. “Government unions are inherently political actors. Right-to-work has nothing to do with collective bargaining except for taking away the unions’ ability to extract funds from those who do not wish to join in the first place.

“They can still do all the same things, except say that the worker has to pay them or lose their job,” he said.

Alexander Anton ([email protected]) writes from Palatine, Illinois.

Internet Info:

“Labor Law and the First Amendment,” Charles W. Baird,