How have public-sector unions in Illinois managed to take over so much of our government?
Their members represent just three percent of Illinois’ population but have captured much of our democracy. Their influence is behind most of what broke us, particularly pensions and the unfunded mandates from Springfield imposed on municipalities. Political scientists should be writing books on how they did it, and it’s a question I was asked again at a presentation on Tuesday.
Well, a big part of the answer is a matter the United States Supreme Court announced this morning it will take up. It’s about forced dues: The court will consider overturning a ruling that let public unions in 22 states, including Illinois, collect fees from workers who aren’t union members and don’t want to pay. If the unions lose, much of the cash that fuels their power will be gone.
Among Governor Rauner’s biggest and most inexplicable mistakes is that he stopped talking about public unions. He got elected, in my view, largely by being the first major candidate in Illinois with the guts to bash them publicly. But, as with pensions, he pretty much dropped the topic after getting elected.
This case should put the topic of public union power back in the headlines where it belongs.
A decision should be issued by the Court no later than June.
–Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.