Illinois Governor Bruce RaunerGov. Bruce Rauner says one of his priorities for his first year in office will be creating so-called “right to work zones.”  He spoke to students Tuesday at Richland Community College in Decatur. He says the speech previews some policies he’ll propose in his State of the State speech on Feb. 4.

Rauner supports creating “employee empowerment zones” where local communities could decide whether workers may be required to join a union as a condition of employment. He says the zones would help improve both competition and job growth.

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In collective bargaining now, employees vote whether to have a union. If a majority vote for it, then the workers negotiate a contract with the employer. The union will typically ask that the contract require workers covered under the contract to join the union. If the employer agrees, then this provision is in force. In “right to work” jurisdictions, it is illegal for collective bargaining agreements to contain this provision.

Rauner says he's not advocating statewide “right to work” legislation like other Republican governors.

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