Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s War on Unions
By Leo Welch
Gov. Bruce Rauner is living up to a campaign promise of declaring a “war on unions.” He is attempting to follow the footsteps of Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, until recently a presidential candidate. Walker succeeded in destroying collective bargaining rights of public employees in his state, and now Rauner is showing his true colors and attempting the same thing in Illinois.
As part of his pension plan introduced in the spring of 2015 he includes a section on prohibited subjects of collective bargaining and for good measure eliminates tenure rights. The following are the prohibited subjects of collective bargaining.
Prohibited subjects of bargaining.
A public employer and a labor organization may not bargain over, and no collective bargaining agreement entered into, renewed, or extended on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly may include, provisions related to the following prohibited subjects of collective
(1) Employee pensions, including the impact or implementation of changes to employee pensions, including the Employee Consideration Pension Transition Program as set forth in Section 30 of the Personnel Code.
(2) Wages, including any form of compensation including salaries, overtime compensation, vacations, holidays, and any fringe benefits, including the impact or implementation of changes to the same; except nothing in this Section 7.6 will prohibit the employer from electing to bargain collectively over employer-provided health insurance.
(3) Hours of work, including work schedules, shift schedules, overtime hours, compensatory time, and lunch periods, including the impact or implementation of changes to the same.
(4) Matters of employee tenure, including the impact of employee tenure or time in service on the employer’s exercise of authority including, but not limited to, any consideration the employer must give to the tenure of employees adversely affected by the employer’s exercise of management’s right to conduct a layoff.
In case of any conflict between this Section and any other provisions of this Act or any other law, the provisions of this Section shall control; except that in case of any conflict between this Section and any other provisions of this Act as amended by this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly. The changes made by this amendatory Act of the 99th General Assembly shall control.
The above components of Rauner’s “pension reform” clearly attempts to overturn provisions of the 1984 Educational Labor Relations Act. Included in the Act are mandatory subject of bargaining such as wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment, as well as the impact of these mandatory subjects.
The Tenure Act of 1980 which covers faculty in public community colleges would in effect be eliminated. There is no statute protecting public university faculty, except by policy and or contractual agreements.
The bright side of this picture is that the Democrats hold a veto proof majority in the House and Senate. Keep in mind that no one is safe when the General Assembly is in session.