Congressional Democrats give show of support to Illinois public sector unions

The powerful unions that represent Illinois' government workers are vowing to fight back following a Supreme Court ruling that could cost them millions of dollars.

Government unions claim only a few of their members have stopped paying dues, despite the Supreme Court's so-called "Janus Ruling" last week allowing exactly that.

And they point to two firefighters who formerly paid a reduced, so-called fair share. They're now all in.

“And both of them were fair share members who wanted to join the union as a result of the Janus decision,” said Pat Devaney of Associated Firefighters of Illinois.

The long-term result may be very different. In states such as Michigan and Wisconsin, when government unions lost their power to force government employees to pay them, they also lost thousands of members and tens of millions of dollars.

On Monday, union leaders met with congressional Democrats in Chicago at the headquarters for the biggest union representing Illinois government workers.

“For employees that work for local government, those union members make 35% more,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

Gov. Rauner and his allies argue those 35% higher wages force higher taxes. Rauner says Illinois government is "corrupted" by government unions giving multi-million-dollar campaign contributions to state and local officials who then sign off on bloated paychecks and pensions.

Democrats mock Rauner's claim, endorsed by the Supreme Court, that workers should be free from belonging to or paying unions.

“This is the freedom not to have good wages. The freedom not to have good benefits,” said Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer.

Union leaders predict Governor Rauner's role in originally filing that Supreme Court case will backfire on him. They're doubling down on Democrat JB Pritzker.