On Nov. 13, the Illinois Senate voted 45-9 to approve SB1784, a bill that would make a series of changes to the state’s existing public-sector labor relations laws. The House approved the bill 93-23 on Oct. 29. The bill now goes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), who has not indicated whether he plans to sign it.
What does the bill propose?
The bill would make the following changes to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act:
- Require public employers to furnish unions with a complete list of the names and addresses of the public-sector workers in their bargaining units.
- Prohibit employers from discouraging employees from participating in unions.
- Permit union representatives to meet with new employees during working hours.
- Permit unions to limit the time periods during which members can resign or rescind their dues deductions.
- Declare that public employers and public-sector unions cannot be held liable for claims involving the payment of dues or agency fees before June 27, 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus v. AFSCME.
In Janus, the Supreme Court held that compelling workers to pay dues or fees to a union violates workers’ First Amendment rights.
As originally introduced on Feb. 16, SB1784 did not have any bearing on public-sector unions. Instead, it dealt with state government ethics.
What are the reactions?
Rep. Jay Hoffmann (D), who voted in favor of the bill, said, “This is an attempt to restore employee rights and lay out what public employers in Illinois can and cannot do with regard to union representation and an employee joining a union. This does not overturn the Janus decision, this is post-Janus.”
Joe Tabor, a policy analyst for Illinois Policy, said, “Public employees are ill-served by SB1784, which would restrict the exercise of their constitutional rights to distance themselves from unions and their politics. It would empower unions to indoctrinate new employees and call workers’ cell phones. It tries to legislate after the fact by stopping litigation to recover workers’ money that should never have been taken from them, which is sure to draw court challenges.”