WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Legal Battle Between Governor, Attorney General Begins

Mar 10, 2015
Originally published on March 9, 2015 8:01 pm

A legal battle over union fees is brewing, between Illinois Republican governor and Democratic Attorney General.

Illinois' Attorney General says Gov. Bruce Rauner had no authority to bring a fight over union dues to federal court. She's trying to dismiss the case.

Republican Gov. Rauner is trying to get rid of so-called "fair share" dues on two fronts: he's ordered state agencies to stop collecting them, and he's suing in federal court to toss out the underlying state law that requires them.

Already, a big labor coalition is suing the governor in circuit court -- alleging his order breaks the law. Unions are also seeking to dismiss the federal lawsuit.

Now, Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan is doing the same. Madigan says the governor has no legal authority to challenge the state law in federal court.

Rauner's office says it had anticipated the Attorney General's action -- that's why it brought on a private firm, pro-bono, rather than using her, the state's lawyer. A spokesman says Madigan's action will have "no impact" on the Governor's efforts.

Non-union members are required to pay fair share fees to compensate unions for the benefits they secure for all workers; but Rauner bristles at the term; he says it's coercion.

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