Four labor unions are suing suburban Lincolnshire to overturn a December ordinance meant to bar private employers from requiring workers to join unions or pay their dues. A suit in Chicago federal court centers on whether a local government even has the power to do that.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a formal opinion last year saying federal labor law only allows such policies to be enacted on a statewide basis but Lincolnshire officials passed the an ordinance prohibiting union hiring agreements and payroll deductions for union dues and fees, anyway. “No one should be forced to pay money to an organization just to keep their job,” said Jacob Huebert, senior attorney for a nonprofit advocacy group defending the Village.
“Lincolnshire has absolutely no authorities to pass an ordinance like this,” said Ed Maher, spokesman for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, one of the unions that went to court last week seeking to have it declared invalid.
Municipal right-to-work laws were a central tenet of a Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “turnaround agenda” proposed by last year. A number of Illinois communities passed resolutions of support but Lincolnshire, fearing competition in nearby right-to-work Wisconsin, is the only one that went past lip service.