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IL AFL-CIO Set to Sue Small Town Over Local “Right-to-Work” Ordinance the AG Says is Illegal

IL AG Madigan has made the state's position on local "Right-to-Work" laws clear: NO.

IL AG Madigan has made the state’s position on local “Right-to-Work” laws clear: NO.

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The AFL-CIO of Illinois is set to sue the Village of Lincolnshire in suburban Chicago over its decision to pass a local “Right-to-Work” ordinance.  The decision was made by the village board following a meeting with more than 100 residents, many union members.  The move is a response to Gov. Rauner’s call for local governments to pass “Right-to-Work” as part of his anti-union “turnaround agenda” despite the questionable legality of such ordinances.   

In March, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan ruled that “Right-to-Work” can only be passed on the state level.

In a statement, AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said: “The city of Lincolnshire was notified that the vote was illegal, they moved forward with adopting the ordinance anyway, so we’ll move forward to take legal action.”

The Lincolnshire vote was a 5-1 landslide despite overwhelming dissent from union members who showed up in such volume that they filled two overflow rooms.  The local ordinance will allow all union members in the village to opt out of paying dues while still receiving representation during collective bargaining, but does not apply to public sector unions who represent teachers, firefighters, and police officers. This type of carve out is precedented in other Midwestern states like Michigan. Lincolnshire is the first municipality to meet Gov. Rauner’s ridiculous demands.

According to CBS St. Louis, the Village of Lincolnshire has little union presence, making the ordinance mostly ceremonial. It will have little effect on day-to-day business the station reports. Illinois AFL-CIO political director Bill Looby feels the soft touch of cronyism in this play:

“I do think there are close connections with the Mayor of Lincolnshire, Elizabeth Brandt, and Leslie Munger, who is the Rauner-appointed comptroller.  When you look at the Policy Institute that’s been pushing these anti-worker initiatives, I think they were looking for a willing participant.”

Support for “Right-to-Work” came from the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think-tank aligned with the State Policy Network.  The State Policy Network is a conservative dark money group funded by ALEC, AT&T, BMO Harris Bank, Kraft Foods and other right-leaning donors.  

Sandy Saltier, a resident, accused the board of “attempting to curry favor with the Governor.”  Union organizer Ken Edwards told the board: “This is union busting.  You, the trustees are being used.  The 1 percent are using you to get to us.”


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