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Gov. Bruce Rauner's Executive Order Stops Mandatory 'Fair Share' Illinois Public Employee Union Fees

02/10/2015 03:26 pm ET | Updated Apr 12, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday declared that Illinois state employees who do not wish to belong to a union can no longer have "fair share" fees deducted from their paychecks.

In doing so, he likely set in motion a legal proceeding that will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and could have a major effect in labor law across the country. If it proceeds as Rauner hopes, Monday's order could be the catalyst to end mandatory union membership for all public employee unions in the U.S.

Rauner's action, taken in an executive order, follows up on a theme he repeated often during his campaign and reiterated last week in his State of the State Address: Compulsory union fees force employees to fund political activities of which they may not approve. Those forced fees are unfair to workers who pay them and have a corrupting effect on government by building union power, he said.

"A major reason why government unions are so dominant in Illinois is the decision to institute 'card check' -- forced unionizing in state government -- which had the effect of bullying and intimidating many state employees into joining the union," Rauner said at a Statehouse press conference. "Right now, over 6,500 employees of the state government are being forced to pay union dues even though they've said they don't want to support them."

Those payments by workers opting out of union membership but working in workplaces operating under contracts negotiated by a union are called "fair share" payments.

"They call that 'fair share.' Let me tell you it's anything but fair," Rauner said, adding that the "fair share" deductions cost the employees who pay them an average of $577 per year.

Read the rest at Reboot Illinois to see why Rauner thinks Democrats should be on board with his ideas.

The president of one of those unions, the Illinois chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, has expressed disagreement with another one of Rauner's ideas surrounding public employees. Michael Carrigan said he doesn't believe that public employee pensions should be phased into a 401(k)-type system -- find out why at Reboot Illinois.

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