Chicago suburb becomes first ‘RTW Zone’ in Illinois

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iStock_000051852822_SmallLincolnshire, IL – Illinois has its first “right to work zone” after a vote by trustees in this Chicago suburb. A legal challenge is expected to follow.

The village board of Lincolnshire passed an ordinance Dec. 14 establishing the RTW zone.

When the issue was being pushed earlier this year, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a formal opinion saying such action can only be taken at the state level.

Illinois AFL-CIO political director Bill Looby expects the ordinance to be challenged in court.

“I’m sure we’ll be involved,” Looby said. “We’re still evaluating that at this point. We’re just looking at all the options right now.”

POLITICAL PLOY

Lincolnshire does not have much of a union presence, according to Looby, so the effects of the ordinance within the village will be minimal. He accused the conservative Illinois Policy Institute and the administration of Gov. Bruce Rauner of exploiting political connections to get Lincolnshire village trustees to pass the measure.

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

MISSOURI

In Missouri, right-to-work was defeated this year, when House Democrats and Republicans sustained Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the measure. However, right-to-work bills have already been filed for the Missouri Legislature’s 2016 session.

St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White said with Nixon unable to run for another term, right-to-work will be tied inextricably to next year’s gubernatorial election.

“In Missouri, we’ve been able to fight it off because we have a Democratic governor,” White said. “If we don’t have a Democratic governor at the end of 2016, we will be a right-to-work state starting in 2017 – no doubt about it.”

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