SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, dogged in attempts to eliminate fees paid to unions by workers who choose not to join, has instructed state agencies to divert money from nonunion employee paychecks away from organized labor until a judge settles the matter.
In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, general counsel Jason Barclay directs departments under the Republican governor’s control to create two sets of books, one of which would move deductions from nonunion members to the operations budgets of state agencies instead of to the unions, although the money would not be spent.
The idea was immediately condemned by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest of two dozen unions that filed a countersuit over an executive order Rauner signed last month calling the fees a free-speech violation. He’s seeking a federal court’s declaration that they are unconstitutional.
Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a prepared statement that they are confident in the process laid out in the memo.
About 6,500 nonunion workers pay amounts lower than union dues — about $575 annually — to cover the costs of union negotiating and grievances. Unions must represent those who chose not to join. Rauner’s action could keep about $3.74 million out of union bank accounts.
Bruno, a labor and industrial relations professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said Rauner’s move would likely prompt a new legal action by the unions. He said If Rauner is trying to demoralize labor, it hasn’t worked.