Rauner bill would wipe out collective bargaining rights of teachers, police, fire fighters, nurses, caregivers and all public service workers in Illinois

The latest pension plan unveiled last week by Gov. Bruce Rauner is both unconstitutional and deceptive. In addition to its cuts to the retirement savings of public service workers, it contains a provision buried in its nearly 500 pages that would effectively strip the collective bargaining rights of all public employees, including teachers, police, firefighters, nurses, caregivers and anyone else who works for any city or town, school district, county, university or the state government.

The provisions that would wipe out union rights for all public service workers are hidden on five pages of his pension proposal. Gov. Rauner neglected to mention the provisions in a news conference where the bill was unveiled. The governor indicated that adoption of the bill was one of his conditions for resolving the current budget impasse.

Gov. Rauner's bill would essentially outlaw collective bargaining for all public employees. Public service workers and their unions would be prohibited from collective bargaining over any form of compensation (including wages, overtime, vacations, holidays and other benefits), hours of work, seniority and layoffs.

In March, Lee Newspapers reported that, "According to accounts from Democratic lawmakers who met privately with the Republican businessman, the governor suggested that if his policies are adopted by the legislature, union membership will be eliminated in Illinois within the next four years."

"With this bill, Gov. Rauner's obsession with eliminating the collective bargaining rights of working people in Illinois is once again exposed for all to see," Illinois AFL-CIO president Michael T. Carrigan said. "The governor would wipe out the right of public service workers to have a voice on the job and bargain for a better life.

"The people of Illinois reject Gov. Rauner's extreme agenda that would strip teachers, police and all public service workers of their basic rights," Carrigan said. "Without the right to bargain, teachers couldn't advocate for better schools and smaller class sizes, nurses couldn't speak out for adequate staff and better care, and first responders couldn't stand up for the tools they need to keep us safe. Meanwhile, wages and benefits for all workers would be driven down. Governor Rauner has the wrong priorities that would hurt our state's middle class and all those struggling to get there."