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Pritzker signs local “right to work” ban

Monday, Apr 15, 2019

* Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed into law a bill that bars local governments from establishing so-called right-to-work zones, another rebuke to his Republican predecessor, who blocked similar legislation as he battled with Democratic lawmakers over his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

The new law, which was passed with strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate and takes effect immediately, “makes it abundantly clear that we have turned the page here in Illinois,” the Democratic governor said during a bill-signing event at the Capitol, where he was joined by legislators and labor leaders.

Former Gov. Bruce Rauner was a major proponent of laws prohibiting employers and labor organizations from signing contracts that require workers to join unions or pay dues. In 2017, Rauner vetoed a previous version of the bill banning local governments from creating such laws, and the House fell one vote short of overriding him. This time, the measure passed the House on a 101-8 vote and was approved unanimously in the Senate.

“From the start, right-to-work was an idea cooked up to lower wages, slash benefits and hurt our working families,” Pritzker said. “ ‘Right-to-work’ has always meant, ‘right to work for less money,’ and it’s wrong for Illinois.”

* Illinois News Network

But Liberty Justice Center Senior Attorney Jeffrey Schwab, who represents Lincolnshire in a case they’ve requested the nation’s high court take up, says right to work doesn’t ban collective bargaining.

“It just makes unions have to get voluntary consent from employees, rather than forcing them to join and pay them,” Schwab said. “It’s disappointing that even though Illinois doesn’t want to pass a statewide right to work that it’s prohibiting its local units of government from doing so.”

Schwab has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Lincolnshire’s case on appeal. Pritzker said he doubts that will change anything now that local right to work is banned in Illinois.

“This bill actually just establishes what is the law today, so I believe that that would be moot essentially at the [U.S.] Supreme Court,” Pritzker said.

Schwab said they’re still waiting to see how the new law will impact the lawsuit.

* Capitol News Illinois

Marc Dixon, a sociologist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, said during an August 2018 interview that different arguments have been used over the years to campaign for the laws.

The first states to adopt them were primarily in the South, he said, where the laws were used to weaken labor unions, especially the Congress of International Organizations, or CIO, which were actively supporting civil rights legislation for African-Americans.

Later, in the 1950s, he said, they were supported by people who claimed certain labor unions embraced communist sympathies or had ties to organized crime.

More recently, supporters have argued for right-to-work laws on the basis of free speech. As more and more blue-collar workers aligned with the Republican Party, supporters have argued that workers should not be forced to join unions that, broadly speaking, tend to support Democrats.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments »
  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 9:53 am:

    Meh, it will give the Liberty Justice League Word Salad of America material for a fundraising appeal.


  2. - El Conquistador - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 9:53 am:

    Final nail in the coffin of Gov Junks extremely well thought out initiative. He should’ve run for the Gov of north Kentucky. They love his schtick there.


  3. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    This will possibly be decided by SCOTUS. But great for Pritzker and the GA, for taking action anyway.

    “Liberty Justice Center”

    There’s a pro-employee organization if there ever was one. So not. It’s the the anti-union billionaire corporate owners and super-rich like Rauner.

    By the way, as was posted here recently, the top nine states (including DC) that made the biggest income gains since 2008 are full-union (or eight of the top nine). RTWFL states are overwhelmingly lower-wage. There’s no reason, ever and in any capacity, to go RTWFL.


  4. - Centennial - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:09 am:

    Rauner’s legacy in Illinois may prove to be awakening the sleeping giant of organized labor.


  5. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    My schools’ parking lots are full of cars built For Less.


  6. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:23 am:

    This is good to know. Next time JB remodels one of his mansions, he will undoubtedly use all union trades.


  7. - Skeptic - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    “My schools’ parking lots are full of cars built For Less.” It’s good that your community has good enough jobs that people can afford to buy them.


  8. - DougChicago - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 11:57 am:

    So what happened to choice, Governor?


  9. - kitty - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    Well done Gov Pritzker. RTWFL supporters make free speech arguments but their real goal is to destroy organized labor. The labor hating C-U News-Gazette has an article today from Dan McCaleb “Illinois man at heart of Supreme Court case continues fight” about Janus, much of it is misleading.


  10. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    Having local right to work zones makes no sense. It would be as bad as local gun free zones.


  11. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    =So what happened to choice, Governor?=

    Choose another job. Choose to vote for different union leaders. Choose to vote to decertify. Or choose to not to be a scab.

    All these choices, and no one ever chooses to give back the money and benefits a union gets them.


  12. - chi - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    That’s me at 1:25


  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 2:31 pm:

    –So what happened to choice, Governor?–

    The choice was last November and the gubernatorial candidates unambiguous positions on this issue.

    And the results were:

    Pritzker, 2.48 million, 55%
    Rauner, 1.77 million, 39%


  14. - SaulGoodman - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    =So what happened to choice, Governor?=

    So why are you opposed to the choice that employers make to have a union shop? Union shops are agreements between both the union AND the employer.


  15. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 5:29 pm:

    If you want unions to prosper, don’t just give them lip service. Use them. Support them.


  16. - Penny - Tuesday, Apr 16, 19 @ 9:04 am:

    Right to work is about freedom of the individual. We do not have rights only as members of a group.

    Our school parking lot is full of nice late model vehicles. The largest unions are in the public sector today. That places public employees and taxpayers against each other.


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