Judge strikes down Lincolnshire's right-to-work ordinance

AP

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (AP) A federal judge has struck down a right-to-work law in Lincolnshire aimed at organized labor, ruling that federal law pre-empts the local ordinance.

Judge Matthew Kennelly wrote in his ruling that only states have the power to enact laws that prohibit union security agreements, the Pioneer Press (http://trib.in/2iGr2e0 ) reported.

So-called right-to-work legislation allows people to work for a company in union-protected positions without having to join the union or pay the complete share of union dues.

In 2015, Lincolnshire approved its ordinance, which doesn't apply to public-sector jobs like firefighting or police service.

In his summary judgment in the case, the judge sided with the four unions, International Union of Operating Engineers Locals 150 and 399, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and the Laborers District Council of Chicago and Vicinity, which filed the federal lawsuit in early 2016 challenging Lincolnshire's ordinance.

Kennelly ruled that the municipality lacked the authority to enact its law because the National Labor Relations Act exemption for states and territories didn't apply to Lincolnshire.

"We look at this as a victory for the state of Illinois," Local 150 spokesman Ed Maher said. "There were a lot of eyes watching this."

While Lincolnshire Mayor Liz Brandt said village officials declined to comment on the ruling, she said "the suit will move to a higher court," hinting at a possible appeal.

After Lincolnshire met and approved the ordinance in 2015, protests ensued with opposing union members packing Lincolnshire Village Hall.

Since then, several other states that border Illinois have passed similar legislation. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has been in favor of right-to-work zones, and has asked Illinois municipalities to take up the cause within their own borders.

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