Memo to : ISEA Laborers Local 2002 membership
From: Mike Stout & Kendra Best
Subject: Fair Share lawsuit
Date: February 11, 2015
Many of you are aware that the Governor issued an Executive Order and filed a lawsuit in Federal court yesterday challenging the fair share dues that non-members pay for receiving benefits from the union contract and representation. The Governor claims that State employees are “strong armed” into joining their union. He tosses the word “corrupt” around to describe past contract negotiations between the State and labor unions, which would include the Thompson, Edgar, Ryan, Blagojevich and Quinn administrations. His lawsuit lists our local, district council and international unions, along with approximately 25 other labor unions.
The Governor argues that fair share funds are being used for political purposes. The Governor claims his Executive Order and federal lawsuit protects the free speech rights of fair share members. The Illinois State Labor Relations Act and subsequent case law clearly states that fair share dues cannot be used for political purposes. Our union contract is an agreement between the State of Illinois and this union that provides for the deduction of fair share fees. Our outside certified public accountant certifies what percentage of our costs are to negotiate and represent our members, that being 99 percent.
Our office was notified by telephone late Monday of the Governor’s Executive Order prohibiting fair share fees, which impacts agencies, boards and commissions under his control. Our office did not learn of the federal lawsuit until yesterday morning. Our staff attorney, Kendra, spent the day reviewing the 22 page legal document and researching court cases cited in the lawsuit. On the other hand, I reached out to our district council and international union to notify them of the Governor’s actions. LIUNA Vice-President John Penn called to assure support from his office and our International Union.
We will fight this case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, along with the other unions impacted by this unfounded lawsuit. As always, we will keep everyone informed of the status of this waste of time and money. Now more than ever, we must remain united.