Gov Rauner Vetoes SB-1905, that Would Have Prohibited Local Right-to-Work Rules

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Among the earliest controversies in his administration, was Gov Rauner’s efforts call for local “Right to Work” laws in local government.  As the Governor frequently said on this subject, if local workers wish to join a union, they can, but they should not be forced to join a union against their will.

That effort  poisoned many of the state’s unions against the Rauner administration in it’s infancy.

As a result, unions urged their supporters in the legislature to pass a law that would make it illegal for local governments to allow local government workers to avoid joining a union and paying union dues.

The result of their efforts was what was labeled, the “Collective Bargaining Freedom Act.”  The bill was designated, SB-1905. It passed during the spring session of the legislature.

On Friday, the Governor vetoed the bill and issued a veto message, which is published below.

Democrat candidate for Governor, Sen Dan Biss

In response to the Governor’s veto, Sen Dan Biss (D), who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, issued a statement condemning the Governor’s veto, “In vetoing legislation to protect collective bargaining rights, Bruce Rauner continues his right-wing crusade against unions that created the middle class decades ago, and support the middle class today. We need a governor whose future relies on the success of unions rather than on the profits of their destruction.”

Veto Statement from the Governor — Today I veto Senate Bill 1905 from the 100th General Assembly, which prohibits local communities from allowing individual workers a choice in whether or not they want to pay a union as a condition of employment. This legislation would damage the economic health of Illinois’ communities by removing their freedom to determine the best interests of their work forces and employers.

Illinois lags behind its neighbors’ economic and job growth despite our many advantages. Our State’s workforce is fleeing and aging, losing 250,000 people and having the worst personal income growth in the country over the last decade. Individuals, families, and businesses who should be eager to come to Illinois stay away. Manufacturers too often leave across our borders or never even consider investing in new job creation here. Many businesses will only expand in communities that offer employee freedom of choice.

Part of our struggle is that every state that shares a border with Illinois has already enacted true worker freedom, allowing individuals in those states to determine whether they want to contribute to a labor union. Many states around us are growing union jobs as well as non-union jobs faster than Illinois because more of their communities give workers choice while not preventing employees from joining unions if they choose.

By contrast, Senate Bill 1905 would move Illinois in the opposite direction by destroying the freedom of Illinois’ local communities to choose reforms that can make their economies more competitive, help their businesses grow, and give the freedom to individual workers to support a union at their own discretion.

This legislation forces local communities to follow a one-size-fits-all model of government, no matter how detrimental they believe it is to them. Our goal should not be to limit workers’ ability to join a union but rather to give communities the freedom to embrace new tools to compete economically and to recruit businesses and talent rather than have their choices dictated by Springfield.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return Senate Bill 1905, entitled “AN ACT concerning government”, with the foregoing objections, vetoed in its entirety.