Critics wonder what the fuss is about. Lincolnshire has just exempted its employees from paying union dues and opponents want to sue. Why?
In Monday night’s 5-1 vote, north suburban Lincolnshire created Illinois’ first private sector “right-to-work” municipality. Private sector unionized employees working in Lincolnshire will now have the choice of whether or not to pay union dues, and a union worker cannot be fired for not paying dues.
According to the Union Business website, Union fees and monthly dues depend on the type of Employer and your particular wage rate. Initiation fees are from $75 to $600, and dues range from $17 to $85. Monthly union dues are generally two and a half times your hourly wage rate. So if you earn $18 an hour expect to pay $44 to your work union.
For some employees, such as teachers, this is a goodly part of their wage.
Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner had encouraged municipalities to pass local right to work ordinances as part of his “turnaround agenda,” which includes efforts to curb the power of unions. Rauner had said that several dozen local governments had approved resolutions supporting his overall agenda. Lincolnshire was the first to go ahead and enact it.
Naturally, labor unions are none too pleased. Labor leaders have threatened to challenge the measure. In March, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan stated that federal labor law only allows states and not local governments to enact such policies. The vote, illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said, was illegal: “[Lincolnshire] moved forward with adopting the ordinance anyway, so we’ll move forward to take legal action.” Jacob Huebert, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, disagreed. Speaking at the Monday night meeting, he said that “nothing prevents local governments from passing this type of ordinance under the ‘home rule’ provision,” and local governments can “enact any law they see fit.”
Opponents of this “right-to-work” legislations say it would weaken unions and depress wages. Supporters argue that it would help promote job growth.
Roughly two dozen states have right to work laws, including Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Local governments in some unionized states such as Kentucky have tried that approach. Why shouldn’t Illinois be next?
Right-to-Work still allows workers to form unions and bargain with employers. It allows them to negotiate wages, hours, benefits and all other working conditions. The only thing that RTW insists is that a worker can choose whether or not he wants to pay union wages.
Some seem to misunderstand this and call RTW an affront to American values. They say it takes away your bargaining power and widens the gap between the haves and have-nots.
The bottom line seems simple: It’s all about freedom. You don’t have to pay your union if you don’t want to…
What is there not to like about this?