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Rauner calls Janus ruling ‘victory’ for public sector workers and taxpayers

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday called a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deals a major blow to public sector unions a “great victory for our democracy, our public employees and the taxpayers who count on us to bargain on their behalf.”

Rauner stood alongside Mark Janus, the plaintiff in the landmark case, as well as John Tillman, co-founder and chairman of the Liberty Justice Center, on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building shortly after the ruling on Wednesday morning.

The governor is hailing the decision as a “major victory for public sector workers’ First Amendment rights to free speech and association and a victory for taxpayers who must bear the high cost of government.”

“For decades, Illinois workers have been forced to pay partial union dues against their will,” Rauner said in a statement.

“The practice infringed on the constitutional rights of public sector workers who were asked to give up their First Amendment rights as a condition of employment. This decision fairly reinstates those rights.”

Rauner, too, said the ruling will fight the conflicts of interest created when government union leaders negotiate with politicians.

Illinois state workers will be notified of the ruling and be given an opportunity to modify their union status, the governor’s office said, adding the average state employee union member in Illinois pays more than $900 a year in fees.

“The ruling is pro-worker and pro-taxpayer,” Rauner said. “State employees — union and non-union — do tremendous work for the people of Illinois. This ruling is a great victory for our democracy, our public employees, and the taxpayers who count on us to bargain on their behalf.”

The Supreme Court delivered a major victory to Rauner during a tough re-election year — and a big blow to organized labor in the case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. The Supreme Court ruled that non-union member government employees’ First Amendment rights shield them from having to pay fees to a union to cover costs to represent them.

Rauner has spent several days in Washington awaiting the decision. He’s led a fight against Democratic-allied Illinois government employee unions since day one of taking office.

The 5-4 decision overturning current law was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who said in the ruling which will have a national impact, “States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees.”

The justices aligned on ideological lines.

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• Judge allows union-fee suit to proceed — without Rauner

• 3 state employees want to join Rauner lawsuit over ‘fair share’ union fees

OPINION

• Collective action is unions’ last defense – and high court on verge of ending it

• Janus case is part of continuing attack on workers

• Union ‘fair share’ fees protect all workers without infringing on free speech

DISCLOSURE NOTE: Some unions have ownership stakes in Sun-Times Media, including the Chicago Federation of Labor; Operating Engineers Local 150; SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana and SEIU Local 1.