State Employees Move to Defend Rauner's Federal Challenge to Government Union Bosses' Forced Dues Powers
Legal action argues forced union dues and fees for government employees violates the First Amendment protections of free speech and freedom of association
Washington, DC (March 23, 2015) – Three Illinois state employees have moved to intervene in support of Governor Bruce Rauner's federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of union officials' power to force nonmember state employees to pay union fees as a condition of employment.
The three state employees, Mark Janus, Marie Quigley, and Brian Trygg, filed the motion to intervene in the lawsuit today with legal assistance from staff attorneys with the National Right to Work Foundation and the Illinois Policy Institute's Liberty Justice Center.
Governor Rauner issued an executive order in February that instructs all state agencies to put in escrow, pending the outcome of the federal lawsuit filed the same day, all forced union-fee deductions from nonmember state employees' wages required by Illinois' public-sector labor relations statute.
The Governor's lawsuit asks that a judgment be entered declaring unconstitutional the provisions of state collective bargaining agreements that require nonmember state employees to pay union fees, a judgment that would effectively grant those workers Right to Work protections.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court suggested in its Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU ruling that it was ready to reassess whether union bosses' forced dues powers, which it called "something of an anomaly" in American jurisprudence, violate civil servants' First Amendment rights. Then last year, in the Foundation-won Harris v. Quinn case that originated in Illinois, the Court struck down compulsory union fees for homecare providers who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele. In Harris, a majority of the Court characterized public-sector union officials' forced dues powers as "questionable on several grounds."
Governor Rauner's lawsuit seeks to apply the Court's reasoning in these cases to free Illinois state employees from compulsory union fees.
"Governor Rauner's actions may give Illinois public employees the Right to Work protections they so desperately need and deserve," said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. "We applaud these civil servants for stepping up in support of their First Amendment right to not subsidize union officials' agenda in order to work for their own government."