Tag Archives: right to work

Danger list: A look at the Republican agenda for 2017

Republicans emerged from the November elections holding their greatest level of power in decades. Not only will Republicans control the White House and Congress, but the GOP also will hold 33 governors’ offices and have majorities in 33 state legislatures. A look at the GOP agenda for state legislative sessions.

ABORTION

• Ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

• Ban dilation and extraction abortions, a procedure more commonly used in the second trimester.

• Lengthen the time women must wait to have an abortion after receiving counseling about its effects.

• Block government funding from going to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

BUSINESSES

• Reduce or eliminate corporate income taxes.

• Relax business regulations and professional licensing requirements.

EDUCATION

• Expand the availability of vouchers, scholarships or tax credits that allow taxpayer money to cover K-12 tuition costs at private schools.

• Expand opportunities for charter schools.

GUNS

• Allow people with concealed gun permits to carry weapons on college campuses.

• Reduce the costs for concealed gun permits and ensure that permits from one state are recognized elsewhere.

•  Allow people to carry concealed guns without needing permits or going through training.

LAWSUITS

• Limit how much money plaintiffs can win in medical malpractice and personal injury cases.

• Restrict where lawsuits can be filed in an attempt to prevent plaintiffs from bringing suit in jurisdictions perceived to be favorable.=

• Restrict who can qualify to provide expert witness testimony.

• Reduce the rates used to calculate interest on monetary judgments.

UNIONS

• Enact right-to-work laws, which prohibit workplace contracts that have mandatory union fees.

• Restrict the collective bargaining powers of public employee unions.

• Require members of public employee unions to annually affirm their desire for dues to be deducted from paychecks.

• Curtail or repeal prevailing wage laws, which set minimum pay scales on public construction projects.

On the Web

Pew’s Stateline reports.

 

 

Ruling striking down ‘right-to-work’ on hold

A Wisconsin appeals court has granted an emergency request to put on hold a Dane County circuit judge’s ruling striking down the state’s so-called “right-to-work” law.

The 3rd District Court of Appeals granted the stay request made in April by Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican who is defending the law signed by Gov. Scott Walker and passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Right-to-work laws prohibit businesses and unions from reaching agreements that require all workers, not just union members, to pay union dues. Unions challenged the law, arguing that it enables nonunion members to receive free representation. Wisconsin is one of 25 states with a right-to-work law.

In April, Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust struck down the law as unconstitutional after it was challenged by three unions — the AFL-CIO’s Wisconsin chapter, Machinists Local Lodge 1061 and United Steelworkers District 2.

Schimel asked Foust to put his ruling on hold while the appeal was pending, arguing that doing away with the law has created confusion for unions and employers. Foust declined, but state appeals court Judge Lisa Stark sided with Schimel in late May.

The lower court’s ruling that the unions would be harmed if it were put on hold was not substantiated by the facts, Stark said.

Stark said he was granting the stay while Schimel’s appeal was pending “given a relative lack of harm shown to either party or the public interest, the presumption of constitutionality of this duly enacted statute and the preference under the law to maintain the status quo to avoid confusion.” Stark also said Schimel had established that the state was likely to succeed on appeal.

Johnny Koremenos, a spokesman for Schimel, said in a statement that the ruling gives more certainty as the appeal is pending.

“We feel confident the law will ultimately be found constitutional,” Koremenos said.

Fred Perillo, the unions’ attorney, did not immediately return a telephone message left after office hours.

While the case is pending before the state appeals court, it is expected to ultimately go before the state Supreme Court, where conservatives hold a 5-2 majority.

Judge won’t stay ruling against Wisconsin ‘right to work’ law

A Dane County judge refused on April 26 to stay his ruling striking down Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, reiterating his position that the legislation wrongly enables non-union workers to receive free representation.

Judge William Foust said he doesn’t believe state attorneys have shown they’ll overturn his decision on appeal and have no evidence the state would suffer if his ruling stands. He said the core of his ruling is whether a union has to provide free services.

“The decision boils down to something as simple as ‘there is no free lunch,’” the judge said.

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel, who is defending the law, immediately said he’ll seek a stay from a state appeals court “where we feel confident this law will be upheld.”

Right-to-work laws prohibit businesses and unions from reaching agreements that require all workers, not just union members, to pay union dues. Since unions must represent all employees in a workplace, the laws essentially allow non-union workers to benefit from union representation for free. Twenty-five states have such laws

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed Wisconsin’s version last year.

Three unions – the AFL-CIO’s Wisconsin chapter, Machinists Local Lodge 1061 and United Steelworkers District 2 – filed a lawsuit challenging the law in March 2015, arguing the statutes amount to an illegal taking of their services without compensation.

Foust found the law unconstitutional earlier this month. The state Justice Department asked Foust last week to stay the ruling. They filed notice of appeal the same day with the Wausau-based 3rd District Court of Appeals.

Assistant Attorney General Steven Kilpatrick argued at a hearing Monday that the judge should grant the stay because the state likely will win the appeal, all statutes are presumed constitutional and the state suffers harm any time it can’t enforce a law and unions aren’t likely to suffer substantial harm if the law remains in place pending the appeal.

Fred Perillo, the unions’ attorney, countered that a stay would harm the unions. He said keeping the law in place would cost the unions thousands of dollars in potential dues, prevent them from negotiating contracts requiring due payments and prohibit contract clauses reinstating union dues if right-to-work was struck down from taking effect.

The Wisconsin AFL-CIO issued a statement praising Foust for again affirming that the right-to-work law is unconstitutional.

Judge rules state’s right-to-work law is unconstitutional

A judge struck down Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, which prohibits businesses and unions from making agreements that require all workers, not just union members, to pay union dues.

Three unions filed a suit challenging the law shortly after Gov. Scott Walker approved it in March 2015. The unions argued that the law allowed for unconstitutional seizure of union property, since it forced unions to extend benefits to workers who don’t pay dues.

Dane County Circuit Judge agreed, adding in his decision that “the impact of (the law) over time is threatening to the unions’ very economic viability.”

Although 24 other states have right-to-work laws and none has been struck down on the grounds he cited, Foust said he was not obligated to follow other rulings because each state has a different constitution. Last year, Foust declined to put the right-to-work law on hold pending his decision.

Walker, who once said he had no plans to enact such a law, touted the state’s passage of right-to-work as one of his proudest achievements while stumping for the Republican presidential nomination during his brief, ill-fated run.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, promised to appeal the decision and said he was confident it would not stand, The Associated Press reported. Schimel has not made a decision on whether to seek an immediate suspension of the ruling while the appeal is pending, according to AP.

Walker dismissed the decision, sending out a tweet that said, “We are confident Wisconsin’s freedom-to-work law is constitutional and will ultimately be upheld.”

Conservatives hold a 5–2 majority on the state’s Supreme Court. All five in the majority are loyal to Walker and the state’s Republican leadership. On April 5, Walker-appointed Justice Rebecca Bradley won re-election to a 10-year term on on the bench with the help of the Republican Party and an estimated $2.5 million from corporate super PACs that support Walker and Wisconsin’s GOP.

“Once again, a liberal Dane County judge is trying to legislate from the bench,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said in a statement following the ruling. “No one should be forced to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.”

Walker said the right-to-work law would stimulate job growth in the state, but last year more than 10,000 Wisconsin workers were laid off — the largest number since Walker took office.

“The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest quarterly jobs numbers found Wisconsin now ranks 40th in private-sector job growth over the past four years, dead last among the 10 Midwest states,” said Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca in a statement to the press.

He and other Wisconsin Democrats praised the ruling as a victory for middle- and working-class residents of the state.

“The extreme right-wing Republican agenda has been incredibly harmful to working people and businesses in Wisconsin,” Barca said in the statement. “Middle class Wisconsin workers are in crisis and so-called ‘right to work’ laws have been shown to drive down wages and economic growth.”

“Just over a year ago, at the committee hearing on the damaging right-to-work scheme, Republicans abruptly shut down debate, silenced the voices of those who waited for hours to be heard, and forced a vote on a bill that diminishes worker health and safety and increases poverty,” said Democratic state Sen. Chris Larson noted in a statement.

“At a time when Walker and legislative Republicans are choosing corporate profiteering and special interests over protecting the rights of our neighbors, today’s court decision restores the voice of the majority of the people in Wisconsin who know that right-to-work laws are wrong for Wisconsin.”

Open letter to Scott Walker: Look at Minnesota’s success to rebuild Wisconsin’s lagging economy

Dear Governor Walker,

I’ve read that you’re touring the state to hear from constituents as a way to get caught up after spending so much time out of state during your presidential campaign last year, and since I live over 250 miles north of Madison, I thought I’d address you on Blogging Blue rather than expect you to travel all the way up here.

I know that two of your biggest problems since you took office in 2011 seem to be job creation and overall business climate. Wisconsin has kind of been circling the drain on both counts for many years now, but I have some good news for you. Minnesota, right next door, is leading the nation on both counts! Last June CNBC rated Minnesota #1 in the nation for business, and over the weekend a new report shows that the Gopher state is #1 in job creation as well.m

This is great news, because not only is Minnesota very similar to Wisconsin in a number of ways, but Mark Dayton took over as Governor there the same year you did here, and with an even bigger budget deficit than you inherited!. In spite of all that, they’re now leading the nation in a pair of top economic indicators, and have a budget surplus of 2 billion dollars. That’s a lot of scratch, man!

I’m no scholar, and I can’t make an in-depth argument about how all this happened, but I can lay out some general points that I think can help you turn Wisconsin around pronto.

1. The CNBC report cites Minnesota as a ” union friendly ” state, so you might want to consider repealing Act 10 and that god-awful Right to Work bill since neither could, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered union friendly.

2. I know you went out of your way to repeal Wisconsin’s living wage law, but you should restore it immediately. Minnesota raised their minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, which isn’t nearly enough, but it’s better than the meager $7.25 workers are making over here.

3. Governor Dayton campaigned in 2010 on raising taxes on the wealthy, (something that seems to have escaped the attention of Wisconsin Democrats), and that’s just what he did, though none of the scare mongering about how everyone would leave actually came to pass. And Minnesota is #1 in business climate, job creation, AND they have a 2 billion dollar surplus! Woo Hoo!

4. Minnesota took the federal bucks to expand their Medicaid program, (Minnesota Care), since it was tax money Minnesotans had already sent to Washington DC, and they also created their own state exchange to maximize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for their residents. I think they probably embraced the wildly experimental notion that a healthier population is happier and, as such, better able to get up and go to work in the morning. I don’t know for sure, I’m just taking a stab in the dark.

I’m sure there’s a lot more to all this than I’ve listed, and I know you have a ton of staff who could dig into it and sort it all out, but I just wanted to fill you in on some of the basics. I know how much you love Wisconsin and all of its people, but I also know what a busy guy you’ve been , what with all that presidential nonsense and the Koch brothers retreats and so forth.

So I just wanted to give you a hand. You’re welcome.

For more Blogging Blue commentary, go to bloggingblue.com

2015: Another eventful year for Wisconsin

A failed presidential bid, a new job for Rep. Paul Ryan and a capital city on edge were some of the most notable stories in Wisconsin in 2015. A look back at those and others:

SCOTT WALKER: The Republican governor spent the first half of the year hop-scotching across the country laying the foundation for his presidential run, visiting early primary states and courting Republican donors. He officially jumped into the race in July but floundered in a crowded field that included real estate mogul Donald Trump. Less than three months later, with poor poll numbers and the prospect of dwindling donor support, he was out.

PAUL RYAN: Wisconsin’s other national political figure found himself under pressure to take over as House speaker after John Boehner announced plans to quit the job. Ryan appeared to want nothing to do with the job before relenting and being elected in October.

MADISON UNREST: Wisconsin’s capital city was on edge for weeks after Tony Robinson, a 19-year-old biracial man, died in a confrontation with a white police officer in an apartment building in March. Robinson’s death sparked waves of street protests, but District Attorney Ismael Ozanne ultimately decided that no charges were warranted against Officer Matt Kenny.

WISCONSIN DRIVERS: The state’s drivers got the green light to hit the gas _ on some roads, anyway _ after Walker signed a bill giving state transportation officials the power to bump the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 in some places.

JOHN DOE INVESTIGATION: For nearly three years Walker endured ugly headlines as the state Government Accountability Board and Milwaukee prosecutors pursued a John Doe investigation _ a procedure similar to a grand jury proceeding where information is tightly controlled _ into whether his 2012 recall campaign illegally coordinated with outside conservative groups on issue ads. The state Supreme Court finally halted the probe in July, ruling such coordination is legal. Three months later, Walker signed a bill prohibiting prosecutors from using the John Doe against politicians.

YOUTH PRISON INVESTIGATION: Word broke in December that the state Department of Justice has been investigating allegations since January of misconduct at the facilities housing youth prisoners in Irma. Allegations at Copper Lake/Lincoln Hills School included sexual assaults, physical confrontations and child neglect. A top corrections official and the Copper Lake/Lincoln Hills superintendent were relieved of their duties.

MILWAUKEE ARCHDIOCESE BANKRUPTCY: A federal bankruptcy judge approved a reorganization plan for Milwaukee’s Roman Catholic archdiocese in November that called for distributing $21 million to hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims. The plan splits most of the money among 355 people. Another group of 104 people will get about $2,000 each. Archbishop Jerome Listecki apologized to victims in court shortly before Judge Susan Kelley approved the plan, saying he believes the archdiocese has turned a corner.

TOMAH VA MEDICAL CENTER: Wisconsin Veterans Affairs Medical Center Chief of Staff David Houlihan was put on leave in January while the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs investigated allegations of overprescribing narcotic pain medications and retaliatory behavior at the Tomah facility. In August the VA’s inspector general said deficiencies in care led to the death of 35-year-old Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski in 2014. Houlihan was fired in October, a month after the center’s director, Mario DeSanctis, was dismissed.

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SYSTEM: A tough year for the UW system included a $250 million budget cut and a tuition freeze. State lawmakers also removed tenure protections for UW professors from state law, though system regents were considering restoration of some protections in a process expected to last into the spring.

LABOR UNIONS: Not a good year here, either, as Walker signed a bill making Wisconsin a right-to-work state. That means workers can’t be required to join a union or pay union dues, a change likely to erode membership. The state AFL-CIO is suing, arguing the law is unconstitutional.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS: The NBA team is getting a shiny new $500 million arena, with taxpayers committed to half that under a bill signed by Walker. The new building may open for the 2018-19 season.

SUPREME COURT UPHEAVAL: Longtime Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson was bounced from that post by the court’s conservative majority after voters approved an amendment letting the justices pick their chief rather than going by seniority. Justice Pat Roggensack was made the new chief. Separately, 77-year-old Justice Patrick Crooks died in his chambers in September, giving Walker an opening to appoint conservative-backed Rebecca Bradley to finish his term. She’ll have the advantage of incumbency in the spring election for a full 10-year term.

MARTY BEIL: The often brusque leader of the Wisconsin state employee labor union died in October at age 68. Beil was the face of the union for years and was at the center of the losing fight against Walker’s signature public union restrictions.

RUSS FEINGOLD’S RETURN: After losing the U.S. Senate seat he’d held for 18 years to Republican Ron Johnson in 2010, the Democrat announced in May that he would run against Johnson in 2016.

Wisconsin labor unions contribute $64,000 to Republicans

Ten political action committees (PACs) controlled by labor unions that represent police, firefighters, plumbers, carpenters and construction workers contributed about $64,000 during the first six months of 2015 to Republican campaign committees.

The labor PAC contributions to Republicans accounted for about 45 percent of the total $142,350 in labor PAC contributions to all legislative and statewide officeholders and candidates between January and June 2015, which was the same period that the Republican-controlled legislature and GOP Gov. Scott Walker considered and approved prevailing wage law changes and a right-to-work law that were opposed by most unions.

Topping the list of labor unions that contributed to Republican statewide and legislative officeholders was the Wisconsin Pipe Trades PAC, which gave $36,000, including $30,000 to Walker and $6,000 to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee (RACC). RACC is used by Republican Assembly leaders to raise money from special interests to spend against Assembly Democratic legislators and candidates in elections.

The Milwaukee Police Association PAC, which is one of the few labor unions that has been a longtime contributor to mostly Republican legislative and statewide candidates, contributed $11,000 to GOP fundraising committees, including $6,000 to RACC, $3,500 to the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate (CERS), $1,000 to GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, of Juneau, and $500 to Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel. CERS is used by Republican Senate leaders to raise money from special interests to spend against Democratic state senators and candidates in elections.

Rounding out the top three labor PACs that gave to Republicans was the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Local PAC, which contributed $7,000, including $6,000 to RACC and $1,000 to CERS.

The top Republican recipients of labor PAC contributions between January and June 2015 were Walker, $32,500; RACC, $24,000; and CERS, $4,500.

In March, Walker and majority GOP legislators approved a right-to-work law, which prohibits requiring workers to make payments to labor unions as a condition for employment. In July, Walker and the legislature approved a 2015-17 state budget that repealed the state’s prevailing wage law as it applies to local government projects.

Milwaukee Bucks spent more money lobbying Legislature than any other group this year

The Milwaukee Bucks spent more money lobbying the Wisconsin Legislature than any other organization during the first half of the year, as the NBA team was pushing for approval of a new basketball arena, a report released Friday showed.

The state elections board, which oversees lobbying, reported that the Bucks spent just over $482,000 on lobbying through June. The next highest was the Wisconsin Hospital Association at nearly $379,000 followed by the state chamber of commerce at nearly $349,000.

The Bucks’ lobbying paid off. The Legislature, on bipartisan votes, ultimately approved spending $250 million in taxpayer money on a new stadium for the team. Gov. Scott Walker signed the measure into law earlier this month.

The amount spent by the Bucks doesn’t include lobbying done on the arena bill in July, which is when it passed both the Senate and Assembly. Those figures will be reported in January.

The budget, which dominated legislative debate in the first half of the year and into mid-July before it was passed, elicited more than 48,500 hours of lobbying. That comes to 367 hours for each of the 132 lawmakers, or two hours each and every day from January through June for every member of the Legislature.

Hours of lobbying accounts for far more than just in-person arm-twisting and includes such things as research and outreach to the public.

The two most heavily lobbied topics within the budget were Gov. Scott Walker’s proposals to change how medical assistance and long-term care services are delivered.

The first and third most-lobbied bills, outside of the budget, were Republican-backed Assembly and Senate measures to eliminate the prevailing wage law, which sets a minimum salary for construction workers on government projects.

Changes to that law were ultimately approved as part of the budget.

The second-most heavily lobbied bill outside the budget was one making Wisconsin a right-to-work state, where private-sector employees can’t be forced to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment. The Legislature passed that in March, and Walker signed it into law.

Those three bills received 5,575 hours of lobbying time — or about 42 hours for each of the 132 lawmakers.

Overall, lobbying organizations spent $18.5 million through June. That is an increase of 9 percent over what was spent in the same time period in 2013, the last time a state budget was debated. Spending was still lower than the $23.9 million spent in 2011.

The total number of hours spent lobbying on all issues was 123,522, or 935 hours for each member of the Legislature. There were 598 lobbyists working for 718 registered lobbying firms.

Bills targeting unions multiply in states

UPDATED: It’s not just Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Taking their cue from conservative, corporate-backed anti-labor groups, Republican lawmakers in statehouses across the country are working to weaken organized labor, sometimes with efforts that directly shrink union membership.

The Republican wave in the November 2014 elections left many unions  vulnerable.

Walker’s signature on a “right-to-work” law makes Wisconsin the 25th state to ban contracts that require all workers to pay union dues. Both he and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who signed a “right-to-work” law in 2012, won re-election in November.

Now, nearly 800 union-related bills have been proposed in statehouses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In West Virginia, a union PAC spent $1.4 million trying to keep the statehouse in Democratic hands but couldn’t reverse the trend turning the state red. Now Republicans, in control of the state Legislature for the first time since 1931, are pushing measures to expand non-union charter schools and scale back requirements that public projects pay higher, union-scale wages. 

Elsewhere:

• A “right-to-work” bill passed the lower house of the Missouri Legislature.

• Indiana moved to eliminate requiring union-level wages on public projects.

• Nevada is considering legislation that would let local governments dissolve collective bargaining agreements in times of economic hardship.

• Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an order prohibiting government unions from automatically collecting dues from nonmembers.

Even local governments are acting. Several Kentucky counties are implementing “right-to-work” measures even though the state, with its House still controlled by Democrats, does not have such a law.

The proposals’ sponsors say they want to save taxpayers money and create jobs. 

In the Rust Belt, Republicans hope such laws will curry favor with whiter and older populations in presidential elections to counter the loss of states with younger and more diverse populations in Southern and Western states.

Much of the anti-labor legislation circulating in the states is modeled on draft bills offered by groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The Center for Media and Democracy, in an analysis released earlier in March, demonstrated that Wisconsin’s “right-to-work” legislation borrows almost word-for-word from ALEC’s anti-union model measure. So did a measure that was defeated in New Hampshire. And Missouri’s “right-to-work” bill, which Gov. Jay Nixon has vowed to veto, borrows from ALEC’s model. Meanwhile, “right-to-work” advocates in other states — New Mexico, West Virginia, Montana and Colorado — have ties to ALEC, as do the strategists behind the county-by-county campaign in Kentucky.

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Illinois to divert ‘fair share’ fees from unions

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, dogged in attempts to eliminate fees paid to unions by workers who choose not to join, has instructed state agencies to divert money from nonunion employee paychecks away from organized labor until a judge settles the matter.

In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, general counsel Jason Barclay directs departments under the Republican governor’s control to create two sets of books, one of which would move deductions from nonunion members to the operations budgets of state agencies instead of to the unions, although the money would not be spent.

The idea was immediately condemned by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest of two dozen unions that filed a countersuit over an executive order Rauner signed last month calling the fees a free-speech violation. He’s seeking a federal court’s declaration that they are unconstitutional.

“This legally questionable scheme shows the lengths to which Gov. Rauner will go in his obsession to undermine labor unions,” Roberta Lynch, executive director of the Illinois council of AFSCME, said in a prepared statement. “To frustrate lawful fair-share agreements, Rauner is ordering payroll staff to make unauthorized reductions in employees’ established salaries.”

The process outlined in the memo calls for preparing one payroll report with the “proper pay” and one, to be processed, that reduces the worker’s gross pay by an amount equal to what nonunion workers normally pay in so-called “fair share” fees. It is not clear how the deductions would affect federal tax withholding or health-insurance payments. Taxes are based on gross pay — if that amount is lower, less is withheld, creating potential headaches down the line.

“We are confident in the process laid out in the memo,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a prepared statement. “It’s no surprise that AFSCME is doing everything in their power to deny state employees from exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Rauner has also proposed “right-to-work” zones where local voters could decide whether workers should join unions. While he has said that he is not anti-union, he has frequently asserted that out-of-control union pensions and the political power of organized labor have contributed to the state’s financial woes.

Lynch questioned what legal liability those payroll employees would face in issuing “inaccurate checks.” The system explained in the memo exposes a level of uncertainty associated with what labor expert Robert Bruno called “virgin territory.”

The memo recommends that each agency prepare a “payroll report using the normal figures,” copy and save it, and then create a second payroll “needed to reduce the gross pay” and enter a zero in a category reserved for fair share amounts. Then, it says, the amounts “should be accepted by the comptroller.”

Comptroller Leslie Munger, whom Rauner appointed to fill a vacancy, had stymied the governor’s original plan to create a separate escrow account. Munger relied on the attorney general’s opinion it would be illegal.

The memo said Munger “provided the method” for the latest plan, but after her spokesman, Rich Carter, denied that, Kelly clarified that after reviewing procedures with Munger’s staff, “the governor’s staff identified a way” to proceed. Carter, meanwhile, didn’t answer a question about whether Munger would process the altered payrolls.

About 6,500 nonunion workers pay amounts lower than union dues — about $575 annually — to cover the costs of union negotiating and grievances. Unions must represent those who chose not to join. Rauner’s action could keep about $3.74 million out of union bank accounts.

Bruno, a labor and industrial relations professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said Rauner’s move would likely prompt a new legal action by the unions. He said if Rauner is trying to demoralize labor, it hasn’t worked.

“In fact, a rather extraordinary form of unity and consensus has broken out,” Bruno said.