What Changes if the Illinois Workers Rights Amendment Passes, and When Would it Take Effect?

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When Illinois voters step into the booth on Nov. 8, the very first thing that will appear at the top of their ballot is a constitutional amendment called the “Worker’s Rights Amendment.”

The measure, passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2021, would codify the right of workers to unionize into the state constitution, and would prohibit state lawmakers from passing “right-to-work” laws, which have been routinely criticized by labor unions and activists.

Opponents of the measure say it could have the effect of allowing property taxes to continue increasing thanks to increased bargaining power on the part of public-sector unions, and could cause companies not to relocate to Illinois.

So what exactly does the measure say? How would it pass? When would it become law? Here’s what you need to know about the amendment.

How Will the Amendment Appear on the Ballot?

Here is the text that will appear on your ballot –

The proposed amendment would add a new section to the Bill of Rights Article of the Illinois Constitution that would guarantee workers the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively and to negotiate wages, hours and working conditions, and to promote their economic welfare and safety at work. The new amendment would also prohibit from being passed any new law that interferes with, negates, or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively over their wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment and workplace safety. At the general election on Nov. 8, 2022, you will be called upon to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution. For the proposed addition of Section 25 to Article I of the Illinois Constitution.

Top Election Stories – NBC 5

So What Exactly Will it Do?

For all intents and purposes, the amendment will codify the right of workers to unionize into the state’s constitution.

It would also prohibit state government from passing “right-to-work” laws, which are currently in effect in at least 27 U.S. states.

Amendment 1 would specifically add this language to Article I of the state constitution:

A – Employees shall have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing for the purposes of negotiating wages, hours and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work. No law shall be passed that interferes with, negates or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively over their wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment and to workplace safety, including any law or ordinance that prohibits the execution or application of agreements between employers and labor organizations that represent employees requiring membership in an organization as a condition of employment.

B – The provisions of this Section are controlling over those of Section 6 of Article VII.

Early voting officially began in most Illinois counties on Thursday, and those casting ballots were faced with the question of whether to amend the state’s constitution to include the right to unionize. Mary Ann Ahern details the debate over the Workers’ Rights Amendment.

How Will the Amendment Process Work?

The General Assembly passed the amendment in 2021, setting the stage for it to appear on the ballot in Nov. 2022.

The next step is in the hands of the voters, and there are two ways that the amendment can become law in the state.

The first is if it receives 3/5ths support from those who cast votes specifically on the amendment. If 1,000,000 residents vote, but only 500,000 cast ballots on the amendment, then it would need 300,000 votes to pass.

The other way involves the overall number of votes cast in the election. If 1,000,000 voters cast ballots, and all make choices on the amendment, then the measure would need a simple majority to pass and become law.

If either of those things occur, then it will become law quickly. Under the Illinois Constitution, the measure must be certified and declared adopted by the State Board of Elections within 20 days of the election.

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November 3, 2022 at 01:05PM

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