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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Attorney General Opposes Governor Over 'Fair Share' Dues

Brian Mackey

A legal battle over union fees is brewing in Illinois between the Republican governor and Democratic attorney general.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Gov. Bruce Rauner had no authority to bring a fight over union dues to federal court. She's trying to dismiss the case.

Rauner is trying to get rid of so-called "fair share" dues on two fronts: Earlier this year, he ordered state agencies to stop collecting them, and he's suing in federal court to toss out the underlying state law that requires them.

A big labor coalition already is suing the governor in circuit court alleging that his order breaks the law. Unions also are seeking to dismiss the federal lawsuit.

Now, Madigan is doing the same. She says the governor has no legal authority to challenge the state law in federal court.

Rauner's office says it had anticipated the attorney general's action, which is why a private firm was engaged pro-bono rather than using  the state's lawyer. A spokesman says Madigan's action will have "no impact" on the Governor's efforts.

A current Illinois law requires state employees who choose not to join a union that negotiates for their work area to pay "fair share" fees to compensate unions for the benefits they secure for all workers.

Rauner bristles at the term; he says it's coercion.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.