* WTTW’s Amanda Vinicky…
If it hasn’t already, a flier will soon be arriving in the mailboxes of many of Illinois’ approximately 400,000 public school teachers, state employees and municipal workers (including police officers and firefighters) informing them that their “legal rights as a government employee have changed.” […]
The flier was sent by the Illinois Policy Institute, a self-described free-market think tank with links to billionaires like Dick Uihlein, who are bankrolling campaigns for conservative candidates in Illinois and elsewhere.
“We want to be a resource,” IPI spokesman Eric Kohn said. “About what Janus means, what was decided in the case. What their rights are – their constitutional rights were withheld from them for 40-some years. Now that they’ve been restored, we want to make sure they have all of the information that they need to make the best choice for themselves about whether or not they want to be a part of the union, whether they want to pay money to a union and support a union.” […]
“When you look at who funds IPI, it’s definitely about politics. Gov. Bruce Rauner gives them money. You can see that Dick Uihlein, who is a big conservative billionaire investor, gives them money as well. This is about privatizing public education and our members know that,” said Illinois Education Association spokeswoman Bridget Shanahan. “If they can take away our members voices, our teachers, our education support staff – if they can silence them and the voice they use to advocate for their students, then they are one step closer to privatizing education.”
Shanahan said the IPI flier is “misinformation” because of a section headlined “member money spent on politics” when in fact legally member dues cannot be spent on political activities.
The flier is here.
* The IEA has also produced a video about the Illinois Policy Institute…
*** UPDATE *** From Mailee Smith, staff attorney and labor expert for the Illinois Policy Institute…
“What we’ve seen since the Supreme Court ruled that forced union fees are unconstitutional is that workers are being bombarded with information. We are a resource to break down what the ruling truly means.
“Hundreds of workers across Illinois have already chosen to leave the unions at their workplace. We hear from folks all over the state who are grateful to be able to choose their own path. Meanwhile, dozens are reaching out to us for clarity about the ruling and how it affects them. Downstate, a ‘fair share’ payer was told by her union president that she was not allowed to opt out; in another instance, a union told their members they needed to opt out together as a group. Both of these are violations of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“We support our state and local workers — including teachers, police officers and government employees — and believe they deserve to have all of the information on the choices they have now, as well as how to exercise those options, available to them.”