Gov. Bruce Rauner is using some new rhetoric as he brings his agenda to the public. What was once known euphemistically as “right to work” – the opportunity for workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to opt out of paying union dues – became the governor opposing “forced unionization.” Now, his idea of allowing cities and counties to be “right to work” is “employment flexibility.”
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“When Wisconsin goes right-to-work here shortly, you can compete with ‘em. When Indiana has already taken our jobs – we’ve lost 48,000 manufacturing jobs while Indiana’s gained 42,000 jobs in recent years – a lot of reasons; one of them is this employment flexibility issue. You should be able to decide if you wanna have the flexibility to compete,” he told an audience in Mundelein.
The governor is characterizing his agenda as “voter empowerment.” It includes local voters deciding what their property taxes will be, and deciding what issues can be the subject of collective bargaining in city and county governments and in school districts.