SPRINGFIELD — Calling it “a victory for the people,” Gov. Bruce Rauner notched another win Tuesday in his battle against organized labor, as the Illinois House failed in its second attempt to override his veto of a bill that would prohibit local municipalities to side step unions by enacting “right-to-work” zones.
The House vote was 70 to 39, one short of the 71 needed to override the governor’s veto. It was a virtual mirror of the House’s attempt two weeks ago, when the override failed by a 70-42 vote.
In an effort to win GOP votes, Democrats introduced a separate bill to remove a controversial portion of the measure that provided a criminal penalty to local governments that enact right-to-work. That “trailer bill” passed the House Tuesday, 73 to 38.
And despite the second override of the right-to-work bill, the Illinois Senate plans to also vote on that trailer bill to get Rauner on record with another veto.
But it wasn’t enough to win over Republicans for the override, which had already passed the state Senate by a 42-13 vote. The House can only attempt to override a bill twice, so Tuesday’s failed effort was Democrats’ final chance.
A key point in Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda,” right-to-work essentially allows people to work in union jobs without paying union dues. Rauner has argued that without it, local municipalities are denied flexibility, resulting in fewer jobs, slower economic growth and higher taxes.
The measure that failed Tuesday would have prohibited local units of government from instituting “right-to-work” ordinances. The bill was pushed after the village of Lincolnshire in 2015 enacted such an ordinance, which unions challenged in court. A federal district court agreed with the unions that local right-to-work ordinances are pre-empted by the National Labor Relations Act, which allows states to pass right-to-work laws but doesn’t allow local units of government to do so.
“In a victory for the people, the House of Representatives today kept the door open to stronger job growth in Illinois,” Rauner said in a statement Tuesday.
“Courageous House lawmakers joined together to make Illinois more competitive so local communities can continue to decide how to make their economies stronger, help their businesses grow and give individual workers the freedom to support a union as they choose.
“Thanks to their action, Illinois is better positioned to be a national and global competitor.
“Now we need to buckle down and continue the work of creating economic opportunity for all of the people of Illinois.”