Madigan Nudges Right-To-Work Issue; House To Vote Today

May 14, 2015

During the Decatur stop when Gov. Bruce Rauner announced his right-to-work plan, he also said unions have a "corrupt bargain" with politicians.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Gov. Bruce Rauner's right-to-work proposal will get a hearing today in the Illinois House. Unions are putting pressure on lawmakers to vote against the proposal.

Though the Illinois House is set to vote on the Republican governor's idea of local right-to-work zones, it's not because Rauner's pushing for a vote.

Gov. Rauner unveiled the concept in late January, during an appearance in Decatur, and has talked about it a lot since. But no actual legislation's been introduced. There are only weeks left in the legislative session.

The Democratic Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, is nudging it along. In a not-so-subtle hint that he's getting inpatient, Madigan made the rare move of publicly scheduling a vote on the proposal. Madigan said the "financial security of the middle class" will be affected by Rauner's right-to-work proposal, and lawmakers "owe it" to them to give a full hearing.

It could put Republicans from union-heavy districts in a tight spot. But Republican Rep. Adam Brown, of Champaign says Madigan's advancing the measure is a sham.

"Madigan's agenda is very different from the governor's turnaround agenda," Brown says. "More of a political vote than anything."

Unions say they're taking it seriously.

The notion of local right-to-work pockets, which Rauner refers to as "empowerment zones," not only is that controversial politically, there are questions about if that's legally feasible.