Jim Dodge champions the idea of workers having more freedom of choice and not being forced to pay union dues for collective bargaining purposes.
“They can’t be forced to pay into something they disagree with,” Dodge said of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case. “I think that’s an important factor because if you look at the history of public unions they’ve generally been about protecting their own interests while the taxpayers have been stuck with the bill. That’s been a fundamental problem in Illinois for many decades.”
In a 5-4 decision, the high court ruled in favor of Mark Janus, a child support specialist from Illinois who argued that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) violated his First Amendment rights by engaging in political speech with which he does not agree.
Mark Janus | Illinois Policy Institute
“I think it comes down to if the public sector unions are valuable and worthwhile to their members than they shouldn’t have any issues with members wanting to pay,” said Dodge, running as a Republican for state treasurer. “The issue comes down to compelled speech or force. They now have to compete for their value. It’s the same way with private sector unions.”
Dodge said he likes the idea of union leaders actually having to earn the support of their members.
“They have to deliver value for their members and they’re ultimately governed by the realities of the marketplace,” he said. “Private sector unions, they’ve always had some connection back to reality. It’s many of the public unions that have assumed infinity patience with taxpayers paying and paying.”
The Illinois Policy Institute estimates that over a 12-year period ending in 2014, five major government unions in Illinois doled out a combined $46 million in political contributions to both Republicans and Democrats.
“I think it’s going to give more flexibility to all government entities,” Dodge added. “The expectation of ever-increasing pay raises, the expectation of great benefits and the expectation of a great pension that grows at 3 percent a year, Illinois can’t afford anymore. If this decision forces everybody to accept the financial realities and forces everyone to be thoughtful and reasonable, it puts Illinois back on track.”