Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal for right-to-work zones in the state would be illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.
If right-to-work is not adopted statewide, local communities cannot enact such measures, Madigan said in a legal opinion released Friday.
In a second legal opinion issued Friday, Madigan also rejected another anti-union proposal being pushed by Rauner, which would allow local governments and school districts to opt out of compliance with state prevailing wage requirements.
Counties, municipalities and school districts "are required to comply with the provisions of the (Prevailing Wage Act) when seeking bids and awarding contracts for the construction or demolition of public works," Madigan wrote.
"Neither home rule nor non-home-rule units have the authority to opt out of compliance with its requirements by the adoption of an ordinance or resolution or pursuant to referendum," she added.
Regarding the right-to-work issue, critics say such policies are designed to control and weaken labor.
Right-to-work measures generally look to ban unions and employers from negotiating contracts that require workers to pay union dues or fees when they take a job covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Click through for Progress Illinois' past coverage on right-to-work issues.
Rauner insists that he's not interested in a statewide right-to-work policy, saying he instead favors so-called "empowerment zones," in which municipalities could decide whether to adopt such rules at the local level.
A Rauner spokesman said the administration "respectfully disagrees with the Attorney General's opinion regarding local right-to-work."
In response to Madigan's opinions on Rauner's two anti-union proposals, Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said:
While Gov. Rauner continues his obsessive war on unions and the middle class, he just keeps running into huge road blocks - like the law.
The Attorney General's opinions on right to work zones and prevailing wage are confirmation of what we suspected from the outset.
I think the people of the state would actually appreciate the Governor working on the pressing issues in front of us, instead of continually proposing illegal and politically-motivated fixes to non-existent problems.