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Tags: illinois | constitution | amendment | unions | right to work | pro-labor

Illinois Voters to Decide on Constitutional Amendment Banning Right-to-Work Laws

pro-union protesters march in the street
Pro-union protesters march around the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, March 26, 2011. With U.S. union ranks swelling as everyone from coffee shop baristas to warehouse workers seeks to organize, Illinois voters will decide in November 2022 whether to amend their state constitution to guarantee the right to bargain collectively. (Andy Manis/AP)

By    |   Friday, 21 October 2022 10:14 AM EDT

Illinois voters are being asked to decide whether a pro-labor amendment gets added to the state's constitution.

The Workers' Right Amendment, also known as Amendment 1, would ensure that employees "have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing."

It also, "provides that no law shall be passed … 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."

Thus, it would block the Illinois legislature from proclaiming right-to-work laws, which allow workers to decide whether to join a labor union.

The measure must gain at least 60% voter support in the Nov. 8 election to be approved.

With right-to-work laws in place in about half the states, the Illinois approach could be a strategy that labor organizers might try to replicate in other states, the Washington Examiner reported.

Unions in Illinois, a blue state already known for the powerful grip organized labor has over employees, strongly support the measure.

"It's going to help us put more money in the pockets of Illinoisians," said Joe Bowen, communications director for Vote Yes on Workers' Rights, the Examiner reported.

"When working families do better, they don't hoard it for themselves. They contribute even more to the communities that they love and call home."

Illinois GOP members oppose the measure. They fear that handing unions more power will make it more expensive for businesses to operate in the state and could mean that companies will move their operations elsewhere, the Examiner reported.

The Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian-leaning think, also has argued that the amendment would cause state taxes to increase.

"Already, the $75 billion in pension debt held by local governments is the main driver of Illinois' rising property tax burden," said Bryce Hill, director of fiscal and economic research for the Illinois Policy Institute.

"But Amendment 1 would give government unions more extreme powers to make demands on taxpayers than have existed in any state in U.S. history, meaning property taxes could be significantly higher than $6,444 for the average family by 2026."

Opponents also say the ballot measure is redundant because collective bargaining is permitted at the federal level under the National Labor Relations Act.

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Illinois voters are being asked to decide whether a pro-labor amendment gets added to the state's constitution.
illinois, constitution, amendment, unions, right to work, pro-labor
Friday, 21 October 2022 10:14 AM
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