CHICAGO — The impact of this week’s Supreme Court ruling on public section union fair share fees is already being felt. Illinois governor Bruce Rauner and the unions are fighting over email and a government website.
Friday, Rauner honored his Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti at a Women’s Bar Foundation Luncheon.
The public appearance capped off a week that saw Rauner score a huge victory in his battle against organized labor.
The Supreme Court ruled that forcing government workers to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining violates the First Amendment.
Unions are set to lose “fair share” fees non-members pay.
Hours after the decision the Department of Central Management Services sent state employees an email explaining the court decision.
The email in question said “effective immediately, the state will stop deducting fair share fees from paychecks of state employees who are not union members. … Under the law, a bargaining unit employee can opt-in or opt-out of a union at any time.”
The message links to a site where union members are told they can notify their human resources department if they leave the union.
AFSCME, which represents 75,000 state workers, said the email is deliberately misleading.
“The governor is suggesting to remain a union member, and most state employees are union members and intend to remain union members, that they have to actually go on the governor’s website and opt-in,” ACFSME Mike Newman said. “And that is absolutely not true. They have authorized dues deduction already and said they want to be union members. They do not have to do anything at all to remain union members.”
The email also mentioned the union will continue to engage in collective bargaining and notes employees will not lose benefits if they opt-out.
The union accused Rauner of using government resources to encourage people to leave the union.
“This has been the governor agenda from Day 1,” Newman said. “It’s a personal ideological agenda. It doesn’t belong on the state email system. It’s not appropriate to use state resources for that purpose.”
AFSCME said the court ruling is already having an impact. They’ve heard from some members who’ve reached out wanting to leave the union. On Monday, AFSCME will meet with local Congressional Democrats to figure out what to do going forward.