Southern Illinois court rules in favor of unions in fair share case

ST. CLAIR COUNTY — A federal judge in southern Illinois has ruled in favor of unions attempting to block Gov. Bruce Rauner’s fair share fee plan, but three state employees have filed their own suit Monday challenging the law that forces them to pay union dues even when they aren’t in a union.

The union lawsuit was filed in response to one Rauner filed in Chicago, seeking to have the fair share fees declared unconstitutional. The court opinion can be read here.

The unions claim in their response to Rauner’s federal suit that the matter belonged in state court. The unions also filed another suit in state court in St. Clair County challenging the legality of the governor’s refusal to transmit fair share fees to the unions.

The governor then asked a federal court in southern Illinois to take the case from the county court. That federal court refused his request today, saying essentially that a state issue belongs in a state court.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, three state employees in Illinois challenged a law which forces them to pay union dues even when they aren’t in a union.
In many states workers who decide not to be in a union still have to pay a fee. The fee, known as fair share dues, is meant to only cover the cost of representation as opposed to political contributions or other financial transactions taken by unions.
While supporters of the idea argue unions have to represent nonmembers anyways so they might as well pay something, opponents believe nonmembers should have the right to not pay anything at all.
The three plaintiffs are Mark Janus, Marie Quigley, and Brian Trygg. Janus works for IDOT, the others work for Healthcare and Family Services.