* From the BGA…
A small and obscure law firm backed by powerful forces sympathetic to what critics say is Gov. Bruce Rauner’s anti-union agenda is on the front lines of a groundbreaking government vs. labor mêlée underway in Illinois.
The Liberty Justice Center in Chicago is representing the Village of Lincolnshire in two lawsuits brought by organized labor against the municipality’s passage of an ordinance declaring a “right-to-work zone” for the private sector. In such designated areas, employees cannot be forced to pay union dues, even if a workplace within the zone is unionized.
Labor unions vehemently oppose right-to-work zones and top legal experts question the concept. As a result, municipal leaders trying to implement such zones are in for prolonged and costly legal battles at taxpayers’ expense, experts say.
Lincolnshire officials, however, took that risk because the Liberty Justice Center promised to represent them pro bono, says the northern Illinois suburb’s village manager.
Liberty Justice Center is also providing pro bono representation in a case with potentially even greater labor ramifications: Challenging unions’ right to collect “fair share” dues from state workers who opt not to join a public employee union.
Liberty Justice Center is funded by and shares offices with the Illinois Policy Institute, a self-professed free-market-oriented and fiscally conservative non-profit organization. The law center was founded in 2011 by IPI’s CEO John Tillman; conservative talk radio host Dan Proft; and Hinsdale real estate developer and attorney Patrick Hughes.
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