Ruling sure to have consequences for middle class, Koehler says

SCOTUS Building 350PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler expressed concern with the U.S. Supreme Court decision to erode collective bargaining rights for workers who depend on unions to amplify their voice in the workplace.

“Unions use collective bargains to improve wages, working conditions and benefits for workers across the board. This decision allows some to not have to pay for that representation but still get to enjoy the benefits. That is just plain unfair,” Koehler (D-Peoria) said.

He noted that 2018 marks 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis while there to support sanitation workers in their fight for collective bargaining rights.

“Although Gov. Rauner has no regrets about what he’s done by pursuing an end to fair-share fees, I fear today’s Supreme Court decision will have far-reaching economic consequences for America’s already shrinking middle class,” Koehler said.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark Illinois public employee union case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 overturns unions’ ability to collect fees from non-members to cover the costs of collective bargaining and enforcement of labor contracts. These fees are known as “fair-share” or “agency fee” payments.

Gov. Bruce Rauner filed suit over fair-share fees in 2015 shortly after becoming governor. The Supreme Court’s ruling, which overturns a 1977 decision, has implications for collective bargaining units all over the country.

Timeline of Janus v. AFSCME

May 23, 1977 — A U.S. Supreme Court decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education legalizes the collection of union fair-share fees from non-members for costs related to negotiating and enforcing labor contracts. Fair-share fees could not be used for lobbying and political expenses by unions.

Feb. 9, 2015 — Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, in office less than a month, issues an executive order suspending the deduction of fair-share fees from state employees’ paychecks and sending the money to unions. He also files a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of fair-share fee collection, contending it violates the First Amendment.

Sept. 13, 2016 — A federal judge in Chicago dismisses Rauner’s lawsuit, saying the governor does not have standing in the case. A state worker, Mark Janus, later is allowed to intervene in the case, saying he objects to fair-share fees being deducted from his paycheck to be sent to a union. Janus’ legal representation is provided by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty justice Center.

March 21, 2017 — An appellate court affirms the federal judge’s 2016 decision to dismiss the case. Janus appeals the appellate ruling to the Supreme Court.

Sept. 28, 2017 — The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the Janus case.

Feb. 26, 2018 — Oral arguments are presented to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Gov. Rauner is present for the arguments and speaks to the media afterward.

June 27, 2018 — U.S. Supreme Court hands down its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31.

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05292018CM0785SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed a budget this week that will fully fund an Illinois Central College training program that prepares young people to enter into industrial manufacturing, information technology and healthcare apprenticeship programs which represent regional workforce gaps.

The program, called Apprentice Ready, is a pre-apprenticeship program that prepares individuals for eligibility and success in an industry-recognized and -supported apprenticeship. Students that successfully complete the eight-week program will be fully prepared to enter into apprenticeships and related workforce programs.

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) says the program is crucial for training future generations of workers.

“The best way to create jobs is to invest in programs that prepare our workforce for the jobs that are in need of workers,” Koehler said. “This program will help our students enter into their apprenticeship programs with the skills needed to succeed.”

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) says she hopes that the program will help young people looking to get ahead in life.

“Young people and career changers need to be given the tools to forge their own career path, Gordon-Booth said. “This program will prepare our students for successful careers I growing industries.”

Illinois Central College would receive $265,000 to run the program. Illinois Central College President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey says the program will help ICC continue to prepare students for the jobs of the future

“We are incredibly grateful for Rep. Gordon-Booth’s leadership on this issue, and for fighting to secure funding for this program in the budget,” said Dr. Sheila Quirk Bailey, President of ICC. “We designed this program to help people in the most need of good-paying jobs get the education they need to find them and better provide for their families. Having allies like Rep. Gordon-Booth and the entire Peoria legislative delegation helped make this a reality”.

Candidates for the program must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Those selected will then participate in a 300-hour program over eight weeks and be paid $10 per hour.

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