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Lawsuit filed over Lincolnshire, IL Right to Work ordinance

We encourage our members to stay alert about a national effort to bring Right to Work ordinances to towns and municipalities.

Here is a page straight out of our opponents’ playbook for Lincolnshire, Illinois, the first town in the Chicago area to enact a Right to Work ordinance.

Members of the Village Board approved an ordinance preventing local employers from requiring workers to pay union dues with payroll deductions. Unions have filed a lawsuit to have Lincolnshire’s anti-union Right to Work ordinance declared invalid and prevent its enforcement.  

Governor Bruce Rauner made union-busting a major part of his Turnaround Agenda – an agenda that does not revive the struggling economy in the state of Illinois, but instead develops policies that create a “race to the bottom” agenda for workers and wages. 

The Right to Work bill was advertised in Lincolnshire as an "Ordinance Pertaining to Economic Development and Worker Empowerment by Regulation of Involuntary Payroll Deductions for Private Sector Workers in the Village of Lincolnshire." 

The language comes verbatim from an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill. ALEC has been working in conjunction with the Heritage Foundation and Protect My Check to duplicate ALEC’s success on Right to Work in statehouses, but this time concentrating efforts in local towns, counties and municipalities. 

Lincolnshire’s Village Board ignored an opinion of the state’s attorney general stating such policies have to be enacted at the state level. In December, the board passed the ordinance despite having more than 100 people attend a meeting who expressed concern over adopting Right to Work. Members of the Village Board were unavailable to discuss the bill with the public and members of the media.

The Right to Work ordinance is championed by Lincolnshire’s mayor (coincidentally) and is proposed by one of the few towns to endorse Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda. We’ve seen these shenanigans before. A politician takes a harmful piece of legislation and despite the outcry of citizens rams it through politically, not caring about the effects on workers and their families. It happened in Wisconsin with Scott Walker passing an anti-union agenda (including passing Right to Work legislation) crafted by ALEC and the billionaire Koch Brothers. It boosted Walker’s profile nationally in the short term, but Wisconsin continues to suffer from these policies, lagging behind other states in job growth and creation.

We are watching the outcome of the ruling and feel confident Lincolnshire’s ruling will not stand. We are confident the ruling will meet the same fate as the Right to Work ordinance that was struck down in Hardin County, Kentucky recently. The Hardin County ruling should serve as a warning to other towns and cities that Right to Work is misguided legislation that hurts local workers and local economies.


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