Lincolnshire board passes right-to-work plan, Grujanac only dissenting vote
The village board voted in favor of an ordinance Monday that makes Lincolnshire the first municipality in the state to enact a right-to-work plan.
The concept of a right-to-work zone was introduced by Gov. Bruce Rauner during his 2014 campaign to promote business and economic growth. Under Rauner’s plan, local governments can decide whether to make paying union fees mandatory.
The plan will allow the citizens of Lincolnshire, a majority of which don’t belong to a union, to stop having union membership fees automatically deducted from their paychecks. Eliminating this previously mandatory deduction means that workers who choose not to pay union fees cannot be fired simply for refusing.
The Illinois Policy Institute celebrated the board’s right-to-work vote, calling an individual’s right to join a union a “key point."
“People shouldn’t be forced to join a union just to keep their job,” Ted Dabrowski, vice president of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, told the Lake County Gazette.
Dabrowski said allowing workers to choose union membership benefits the entire state.
“It’s important for Illinois to become competitive, and states across the country that are the most competitive are the ones that give workers the freedom to join a union or not," Dabrowski said. "We have seen that, whether it is in personal income growth, job growth or economic growth, the states that give workers those rights are the ones that are on the path to creating the most job opportunities for their citizens."
Twenty-five states already have right-to-work laws enacted; however, only Kentucky allows for local governments to approve these laws.
Recently, Maine's senate rejected similar legislation that would give workers in certain areas the right to refuse union fees.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan has vocally expressed her view that right-to-work laws are only valid if adopted statewide. In March, she issued a legal opinion saying that municipal right-to-work laws would violate federal labor laws.
Village Board Member Mara Grujanac told the Lake County Gazette that she was the only dissenting vote at the meeting.
“I voted this way because I do not feel there is precedent in our village that would require our board to make a decision regarding the ordinance," she said.
The Illinois Policy Institute has been vocal in its support of right-to-work plans at a municipal level.
“We think it’s a bold move and that each city should have the right to manage those types of issues to make their cities and municipalities more competitive and more favorable for economic growth,” Dabrowski said.
Due to the ordinance's questionable legality, the law is likely to be challenged in court.