Thursday, December 17, 2015

First Right To Work Zone Declared in Illinois

The Village of Lincolnshire, a suburb northwest of Chicago, is the first to enact a right to work zone in Illinois. The ordinance allows private sector employees to opt out of union membership and forego payment of fair share dues. As many readers know, fair share fees or dues is a percentage of full union dues assessed against an individual who occupies a job title represented by a union, but who chooses not to be a union member. The fair share dues or fees are supposed to reimburse the union for the benefit to the individual derived from union representation despite the fact that they have declined membership. Fair share often exceeds 90% of full membership union dues among public sector employees.

Rauner established the concept of right to work zones in Illinois in his Turnaround Agenda. He called them "employee empowerment zones" and said they'd give people more local control of their lives.
Attorney General Madigan previously rendered an opinion on these zones that they were lawful under federal labor law, but not under state labor law. Lincolnshire may have made the right to work zone for private sector employees in an attempt to conform to Madigan’s opinion.

Recently the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Indiana legislation establishing the state as a right to work state. The U.S. Supreme Court is also hearing a case this term out of California on the constitutionality of fair share fees since at least some of that amount usually is used to support political campaigns or initiatives. Meanwhile, union membership overall has increased in the last two years.