Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Attorney General Issues Post-Janus Guidance

The Illinois Attorney General has issued her office’s opinion on the rights and obligations of unions and public employers in light of the Janus opinion rendered a little over a month ago by the U.S. Supreme Court, finding fair share fees to be unconstitutional.

In the Guidance, dated July 20, 2018, the AG offers the following opinions:
  • The Janus decision does not change any of the rights and duties of public employers or unions that represent public employees except with respect to fair share fees. (This presumably includes the unions’ obligation to represent all employees in unionized job titles);
  • Employee can choose to join a union and can voluntarily agree to pay fair share fees if they wish;
  • The Janus decision does not change the validity of prior authorized dues deductions (not fair share fees though) or employees’ rights to organize and engage in collective actions, including bargaining.

The AG also weighed in on the issue of whether a public employer should disclose personal information about employees pursuant to a request for information under FOIA. The AG opines that FOIA protects against third party access of employee private information such as home addresses, telephone numbers and personal email addresses, except when the request is from the employees’ exclusive bargaining representative. This statement clarifies what many found to be a grey area regarding release of this information to third parties and has become more important of late with public employee unions accusing right to work groups of seeking access to employee contact information through FOIA to campaign for their cause.

See the AG’s guidance here.