Illinois Gov. Rauner Ends the Forced Unionization of Public Employees

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Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015, 4:01 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Worker Freedom applaud Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner for ending the practice of forced unionization for state employees. Enacted by executive order, the Washington Free Beacon notes that Gov. Rauner’s action means: “…public sector workers will no longer be forced to join government unions, such as the politically powerful American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), as a condition of employment.”

Matt Patterson, the Executive Director at the Center for Worker Freedom, stated:

Politicians in both red and blue states are at last coming to a consensus that workers deserve free labor markets. 

In the United States, no one should be forced to join or pay dues to any organization, including a labor union.  Gov. Rauner's actions are at odds with labor bosses, who rely on government power to force workers into their ranks.  Fortunately for the rest of us, the Governor's actions are entirely constituent with the U.S. Constitution and freedom of assembly.

The move against forced unionization in Illinois government comes on the heels of a major effort in Kentucky to enact local Right to Work laws. As a state with strong home rule laws, county governments in Kentucky have tremendous power in how local government is run. While the state government remains divided over Right to Work, several counties have undertaken the enactment of local versions of the law – a law that has been passed in 24 states. Writing in Forbes, the Center for Worker Freedom’s Matt Patterson points out:

In a stroke of genius and bravery, county leaders in Kentucky have decided that right-to-work absolutely falls under the “economic development” rubric, because right-to-work attracts businesses and boosts job growth; according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, between 1990 and 2014 jobs grew more than twice as fast in right-to-work states compared to their less-free brethren.

So Kentucky county officials figure they can and should pass right-to-work at the county level. And as of this writing, five have done so, a pro-worker blitzkrieg that advanced through Todd, Fulton, Warren, Simpson and Hardin counties in barely one month as last year gave way to this.

Most importantly, Gov. Rauner has extended the freedom of association to Illinois state employees, giving them the freedom to choose whether or not they wish to be a part of a public employee union. A right that is all-the-more important when one realizes most Illinois unions fail to meet typical non-profit standards for spending. The Illinois Policy Institute points out:

Nonprofits in Illinois typically spend around 90 percent of their budget on their missions, with the remainder going to overhead and administration.

Meanwhile, all but one of Illinois’ major government unions fail to reach the Better Business Bureau’s standard, by the unions’ own accounting.

For instance, the Illinois Education Association, or IEA, the state’s biggest teachers union, devoted just 26 percent of its budget to representation in 2014. Nearly 70 percent went to administration and overhead and 3 percent went to political activities, according to LM-2 reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor in 2013.

Americans for Tax Reform encourages more governors across the country to follow Gov. Rauner’s lead and end the forced unionization of public employees.

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