By CARL GREEN
Chicago – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion to dismiss Gov. Bruce Rauner’s federal lawsuit against “fair share” fees for state employees.
Rauner sued to allow non-union employees to avoid paying fees to the unions that negotiate their salaries and benefits.
Unions are required under federal law to represent all workers in a union shop, whether they choose to join the union or not.
Employees who decline to join a union are required under federal and Illinois state labor law to pay “fair share” fees – which cannot be used for political purposes – to cover the cost to the unions of negotiating higher wages and benefits on their behalf, but Rauner maintains the fees they cannot be separated from union political funds.
Madigan says Rauner is attacking a state law and that, as attorney general, it is her duty to defend duly enacted laws.
“Along with the motion to intervene, I have submitted a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the governor does not have the legal authority to sue to challenge the law in federal court,” Madigan said.
“As attorney general, it is my job to represent the state and defend our laws when their constitutionality is challenged in court. Because the governor’s case questions the validity of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, I moved to intervene to provide the court with arguments regarding the law’s constitutionality.”
A coalition of unions has already filed suit in state court to block Rauner’s executive order that the fees be withheld.
the Illinois AFL-CIO, AFSCME and 25 other unions, representing more than 400,000 state employees, filed suit March 5 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.
According to the lawsuit, Rauner’s executive order blocking the payments not only violates collective bargaining agreements, but state law, too.
Fair share agreements were approved in the 1983 Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, signed by Gov. Jim Thompson, a Republican. The union lawsuit says Rauner’s order violates the separation of powers in state government by seeking to cancel that law.
The lawsuit states in part that: “Rauner has usurped the constitutional power of the legislative branch in promulgating an executive order that effectively repeals a duly passed public act and has unlawfully exercised the veto power vested in the governor.
“The executive power is the power to faithfully execute the laws enacted through the legislative process, not to refuse to implement the laws that have been properly enacted by the state.”