Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) on the House floor | repugaste.com
In the mind of state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva), a senate bill that would make it more difficult for workers to arbitrarily walk away from public unions sets up as another financial burden for a cash-strapped state that's already reached its fiscal breaking point.
In its current form, Senate Bill 1784 would also allow public-sector unions such rights as meeting with new hires during working hours and the sole authority of processing requests by members to stop dues payments, and requires public employers to provide worker information such as personal email addresses or cell phone numbers to the union at least once a month, regardless of the employees’ membership status or preferences.
“I thought it turned over information that absolutely no one else would be entitled to in a way that’s going to cause undue burden and costs on the state to provide this information,” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter of why he was among the handful of lawmakers voting to reject the bill. “This to me isn’t about unions or should they exist or be able to negotiate on behalf of their members. That had nothing to do with why I voted against it.”
Ugaste said he also viewed the proposal that ultimately passed the House 93-23 as an exercise in futility given that the state Supreme Court had already rendered an exhaustive view related to the matter. In the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court verdict, the high court stipulated that government labor unions are inherently political and that public employees are not obligated to join as a requirement for employment and have the option of resigning union membership and ceasing to pay union dues.
“There was a court case decided and I believe this bill was an attempt to work around the court case and an attempt to nullify the decision,” Ugaste said. “I don’t think that’s what we need to be doing.”
SB 1784 now heads back to the senate for a vote on changes made to its original form during House proceedings.