Gov. Bruce Rauner tried to undermine the state’s public worker unions by issuing an executive order that would deprive them of the right to collect “fair share” fees for their services. Council 31 has vowed to fight the order.
There’s a right way to respond to the vicious attacks that many public workers are facing across the nation, and an Illinois AFSCME local just reminded us how.
In February, the Republican governor tried to undermine the state’s public worker unions by issuing an executive order that would deprive them of the right to collect “fair share” fees for their services. This sort of right-to-work scheme has become a popular strategy to defund unions among extreme right-wing politicians, with Wisconsin being the latest state to impose it on working families.
Rauner’s executive order is illegal, and unions have filed a lawsuit to stop it. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan seems to agree.
But AFSCME Local 3649, Illinois Council 31, reminds us that such attacks need not hurt us if we stand together. Thanks to Rauner’s executive order, Local 3649 now has 100 percent full membership, something it had never seen before. When the eight to 12 fee payers it had realized how the governor was trying to divide them, they became full-paying members.
As our Illinois sisters and brothers demonstrate, when many working families are facing hardship and workers’ rights are under attack, solidarity is still our best defense.
Pablo Ros is an AFSCME member who wrote this article for the AFSCME Blog where it originally appeared.
Photo: AFSCME Council 31 Facebook.