Illinois voters to weigh in on workers’ rights amendment to codify collective bargaining rights

CHICAGO (WLS) — Voters in Illinois will be filling out ballots for more than just elected officials this year. They will also be asked to weigh in on a constitutional amendment that will impact the rights of workers to unionize.

The amendment would codify in the Illinois Constitution the rights that workers currently have to organize and bargain collectively over wages, hours and working conditions. It’s energized labor groups and business organizations on opposite sides of the issue.

2022 ELECTION: Voter Information in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

Voters are weighing an important issue that could establish workers’ rights for decades. The first item on their ballot is the proposed amendment to the constitution would do more than just enshrine the collective bargaining rights workers currently enjoy.

“One thing it would do is prevent so-called right to work laws, which are really laws that were designed to attack collective bargaining,” said Bob Reiter, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor.

ILLINOIS GENERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress

It’s a key issue for unions, which are pouring millions of dollars into the campaign to win support for the amendment, including TV ads. But business groups – including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and others – are fighting against it, saying it would be bad for business and encouraging companies to locate elsewhere.

READ MORE: GOP megadonor tops $50M in donations to Bailey, conservative super-PAC

“When most of the rest of the Midwest is right to work, Illinois is coming around, ‘we’re gonna shut down workers’ rights,'” said Todd Maisch, president of Illinois Chamber of Commerce, “and it send a huge message to the rest of the nation: Illinois is not just a very good pro-business growth employment place.”

There are currently about 900,000 union workers in Illinois. Joe Bowen, the communications director for the Vote Yes for Workers Rights campaign, said the amendment will provide the strongest protections of any state.

RELATED: Pritzker, Bailey face off in heated 1st televised debate

“At the federal level we’ve seen attacks on rights and values that we thought were settled law for decades,” Bowen said. “Everything from voting rights to bodily autonomy is under attack today and we need to make sure that workers in Illinois don’t face those same challenges.”

But opponents say it could lead to higher property taxes by expanding the power and influence of unions.

“That’s because it allows government unions to demand broad new provisions not allowed in any other state, and a permanent right to go on strike to get those demands met,” said Mailee Smith, director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute.

For the amendment to be approved, it requires 60% support from those voting on the measure or a simple majority of those voting in the election.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Feeds,News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago

via ABC7 RSS Feed

October 17, 2022 at 06:24PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s