News Local/State

Unions Sue To Block Gov. Rauner’s Order On Dues Collection

In this Feb. 9 file photo, Governor Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters during a news conference in his office in Springfield

In this Feb. 9 file photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters during a news conference in his office at the state Capitol Springfield. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

Illinois labor unions are asking a judge to invalidate Gov. Bruce Rauner's executive order ending a requirement that state workers pay union dues even if they don't want to join a union.

Twenty-seven unions filed a lawsuit against the Republican governor Thursday in St. Clair County. They say the order he issued last month violates collective bargaining agreements and state law.
Rauner's order would eliminate so-called "fair share'' dues. He also filed a federal lawsuit asking the dues be declared unconstitutional.
Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said Rauner's "political obsession'' with stripping state workers' rights "demeans their service, hurts the middle class and is blatantly illegal.''

Carrigan said that's a violation of the separation of powers; in other words, a governor can't unilaterally toss out a state law.

"Let's not kid ourselves, the governor - his intent here is to weaken unions, and to wipe us out entirely," he said.

Illinois' Attorney General has previously cast legal doubt on Rauner's move.

Rauner issued a statement Thursday afternoon.

“We always expected the government union bosses to fight to keep their stranglehold over Illinois taxpayers in place," he said.  "These forced union dues are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers, and the government unions will do anything to keep the broken status quo.”

When he issued the executive order, Rauner also filed a federal lawsuit to strike fair-share dues.

The A-F-L-C-I-O's Carrigan says unions will file another lawsuit, seeking to toss the governor's. Carrigan said state court -- not federal -- is the appropriate venue to address issues with state laws.