Well. That certainly didn’t take long.
Illinois entrepreneur-turned-Governor Bruce Rauner has barely had time to warm the chair in his new office, and he has already been labeled by a Huffington Post blogger as the “Poster Boy for War on Middle Class.” And why? Because he took a page from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s (fairly successful) playbook, and moved to restrict the ever-expanding power of public sector unions.
On Monday, Rauner announced the executive order – an order that countermands a similar order enacted by Illinois Governor-turned-convict Rod Blagojevich – which puts an to public sector unions’ power to enforce “fair share” dues collection (a program that allows unions to collect de facto dues payments even from workers who choose not to be full members).
Forced union dues are a critical cog in the corrupt bargain that is crushing taxpayers. An employee who is forced to pay “fair share” dues is being forced to fund political activity with which they disagree. That is a clear violation of First Amendment rights, and something that as Governor, I am duty bound to correct.
Of course, the union leadership sees the move quite differently. They believe that Rauner intends to curb their power because the dues they do collect are generally used to fund his political opposition. They also claim that by extension, he will use this move to wage war on middle class workers who “need” the protection of unions in collective bargaining situations.
Afscme Council 13’s executive director Roberta Lynch had this to say:
It is crystal clear by this action that the governor’s supposed concern for balancing the state budget is a paper-thin excuse that can’t hide his real agenda: silencing working people and their unions who stand up for the middle class.
In what must obviously be a coincidence, Afscme strongly supported Bruce Rauner’s opponent, former Governor Pat Quinn, and is scheduled to negotiate a contract with the state this year.
Though the actual impact of the executive order may be small – it only affects those who work in public sector jobs but have refused full membership in favor of a mandatory “fair share dues collection” – the implication is that Rauner will continue to work to end the incestuous relationship between public sector unions and the politicians who feed their ever-expanding power.