Rauner opens up 2nd front vs. unions

JOSE M. OSORIO  – CHICAGO TRIBUNE

As Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner remains locked in a stalemate with Democratic lawmakers over his pro-business, anti-union agenda, he’s opened up a second front, battling the largest state employee union over a new contract.

Also at issue are the governor’s proposals to change the way overtime pay is calculated and to allow the state to circumvent union workers by contracting out to private vendors.

But perhaps the most charged proposal is the one that would halt the state’s long-standing tradition of withholding directly from paychecks union member dues and fees on nonmembers that fund union activities. Currently, that money is deducted along with taxes and health care premiums, and then routed back to the unions. Rauner wants to end that practice, essentially cutting off the regular, predictable flow of money to his union adversaries.

Bob Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the administration’s demands are “so draconian that they would practically strip away all of the standards and the level of benefits and working conditions and pay that workers are currently experiencing.”

If unions were to agree to Rauner’s terms, they’d “create conditions that wouldn’t even justify having a union in place,” Bruno said. read more….