Sunday, January 22, 2017

Chicago Federal Judge Strikes Down Lincolnshire’s “Right To Work” Ordinance

Enacted with the encouragement of Governor Rauner, the village of Lincolnshire’s December 2015 anti-union “Guarantee of Employee Rights” ordinance came to an abrupt end with the filing January 7, 2017 of U. S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly’s order invalidating the ordinance as preempted by the National Labor Relations Act. The Lincolnshire ordinance, passed under that village’s home rule powers, purported to make unenforceable labor union contract provisions requiring workers not belonging to a union to pay union dues and be hired through union halls.

In a federal lawsuit filed against the village by the Carpenters union, Laborers union, and two Operating Engineers locals, Judge Kennelly held that the U. S. Constitution’s supremacy clause prohibited local governments from overriding provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. While the Act permits state legislatures to enact statewide laws eliminating the Act’s grant to unions of the right to contractually require employers to deduct dues equivalents from non-union employees’ wages, allowing local units of government to do so on a piecemeal basis would create an unmanageable patchwork of labor laws across the nation, and effectively negate the collective bargaining rights granted to labor unions by the NLRA.

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