Lincolnshire village board votes in favor of right-to-work plan

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (WLS) -- The village board voted in favor of an ordinance making Lincolnshire a right-to-work zone on Monday night. It's the first Illinois municipality to allow private sector workers to opt out of union membership.

Lincolnshire is not by any means a union town. With the exception of some of those working in the village's corporate center and hotels, most of its 25,000 workers don't belong to a union.

"It gives workers the choice to decide whether a union serves their interests. If it does they're free to support it. But if it doesn't they don't have to have money coming out of their paycheck," said Jacob Huebert, Illinois Policy Insitute.

The Illinois Policy Institute says these so-called right-to-work laws promote job growth. Their model is the one Lincolnshire used to draft their ordinance. Twenty five states including Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan already have right-to-work laws on their books.

"The jobs are there because that's where businesses want to go and that's where businesses grow," Huebert said.

But union supporters disagree. The Chicago Federation of Labor planned to have representatives at Monday night's meeting to oppose Lincolnshire's vote.

"We don't even think is a vote. It's a farce, a ruse," said Jorge Ramirez, Chicago Federation of Labor.

A ruse they say, because Governor Bruce Rauner has been unable to enact a right to work law in Illinois and his supporters are looking to a local municipality to establish that precedent so others may follow suit. So far, Kentucky is only state that's approved right-to-work laws at the local level.

"You have folks in right to bargain state that have on average 30 percent higher wages and more likelihood they will have a pension, health and welfare, time off with their families and things like that and that's what this fight is about," Ramirez said.

The ordinance was expected to be approved Monday night, but there is a question of legality surrounding and it will likely be challenged in federal court. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is among those who say that local municipalities are not able to legally approve right-to-work laws.
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