CHICAGO – Three Illinois state employees stand ready to lead a lawsuit over union dues if a federal judge decides that Gov. Bruce Rauner can’t lead it.
Like Rauner, the three allege that unions violate rights of free speech and free association when they take money from workers who don’t belong to the unions.
The three first moved to intervene in Rauner’s suit, and later joined as plaintiffs.
The unions have challenged Rauner’s standing to sue them, and Rauner has answered that employees have standing if he does not.
“The Governor’s claims are part of the same case or controversy as the plaintiff employees’ federal claims,” Matthew Ford of Chicago wrote for Rauner on April 16.
That means a federal court has jurisdiction over the suit regardless of whether it has jurisdiction over Rauner’s claims standing alone, Ford wrote.
On the same date, state employees Mark Janus, Marie Quigley and Brian Trygg asked to proceed as intervenors or plaintiffs, if the court dismisses Rauner.
“This is not a case where the employees are using intervention in an attempt to breathe life into a nonexistent lawsuit,” Joseph Torres of Chicago wrote for them.
“To the contrary, there is a real case and controversy,” he wrote.
He wrote that the employees seek the same relief Governor Rauner is seeking.
“Given this overlap, it would be inefficient to require the employees to return to square one with a new case merely because challenges have been raised to federal jurisdiction over the governor’s claims,” Torres wrote.
State payroll records show Janus earned $66,721 last year as a child support specialist in the Department of Health Care and Family Services.
Quigley earned $79,230 as an executive in the Department of Public Health.
Trygg earned $109,149 as a civil engineer in the Department of Transportation.
Rauner signed an executive order on Feb. 9, prohibiting deductions of “fair share” fees from paychecks of workers who don’t belong to unions.
On that date he sued the unions, claiming fair share provisions in their collective bargaining agreements violated the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.
The unions moved to dismiss the suit on March 5, claiming Rauner lacked standing.
On that date the unions sued Rauner in St. Clair County chancery court, claiming his order exceeded his authority under the Illinois Constitution.
On March 23, Janus, Quigley and Trygg moved to intervene in the federal suit.
Rauner amended his complaint on March 26, adding the three as plaintiffs.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan meanwhile intervened on the side of the unions.
She argued that if U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman doesn’t dismiss Rauner’s suit, he should abstain from it while the union suit proceeds in St. Clair County.
Ford’s April 16 brief for Rauner opposed abstention, arguing that the federal and state suits involve different parties and claims.
Ford wrote that the St. Clair County case does not involve Janus, Quigley and Trygg, and that they assert personal and monetary claims against the unions.
He wrote that a state court’s ruling that Rauner lacked authority to issue the executive order would not dispose of all the claims in federal court.
“Neither the state nor the federal case has progressed,” he wrote.
Gettleman plans a May 20 hearing on the motion to dismiss Rauner’s federal suit.
St. Clair County Associate Judge Christopher Kolker presides over the state suit.