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Illinois Voters Consider Labor Rights Amendment

Illinois voters were asked Tuesday to consider an amendment to the Illinois Constitution. The amendment, if approved, could mark a new direction for organized labor not only in the state but across the country.

A group of Illinois unions voted on a bill asking whether Illinois should enshrine workers’ rights to unionize and bargain collectively in the state constitution. -Union groups that advocate it will raise taxes and give unions unprecedented power.

Sixteen percent of the state’s constituencies were counted, and the unofficial total was 65 percent in favor of the amendment and 35 percent against. It takes more than a simple yes or no vote to pass a constitutional amendment.

Requires the support of 60% of those voting directly on the question, or 50% or more of those voting in an election.

The proposal for voter ratification, which gives workers a “fundamental right” to organize, known as the “Workers Rights Amendment” to supporters and “Amendment 1” to opponents, The unsuccessful achievement of former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. A few years ago, he attempted to curb the power of the union that led to his unprecedented two-year state budget impasse.

“Vote yes” campaign committee raised More than $16 million, most of which came from building labor unions, some of which was collected by the Committee Against the First Amendment, founded by leaders of the Illinois Institute for Policy Studies. , most of which was collected from conservative mega-donor and businessman Richard Eulein. The CEO of packaging and delivery company Uline has spent tens of millions of dollars on political campaigns in Illinois this year. Most notably, Republican Darren endorses his Governor Bailey.

The dollars raised are noteworthy, but pale in comparison to the more than $124 million raised two years ago by groups either for or against proposed changes to the Illinois Constitution. switched the state from a flat rate income tax to a progressive tax systemThe amendment, backed by Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, failed.

The proposed Illinois amendment guarantees the right to bargain not only on the most common elements of collective bargaining, such as wages, hours and working conditions, but also on “economic well-being and workplace safety.”

It would also essentially prohibit so-called employment laws and ordinances that prohibit companies and unions from agreeing to join unions as a condition of employment. The Labor Rights Act weakens the power of unions by allowing workers to avoid paying “fair share” fees to unions.

The Right to Work Act spans 27 states, including all border states of Illinois. In Missouri, voters rejected the state’s proposed law in the 2018 referendum. These laws only affect private workers.US Supreme Court Ruled by Illinois-based Janus in 2018 v.AFSCME A case where civil servants do not have to pay a “fair share” fee to unions they do not want to join.

The proposed amendments go further than the laws of three states – New York, Missouri and Hawaii. These three states have amended their constitutions to give workers the right to organize and bargain collectively.

“If we succeed, it will be the first time voters have added constitutional protection to collective bargaining through voting,” said communications director Joe Bowen, who votes for workers’ rights. . “Voting yes for workers’ rights will ensure that future politicians cannot take away these rights.”

Critics say the amendment would make the state uniquely anti-business, and the right-to-work law is unlikely to pass in politically democratic Illinois any time soon, so whether or not the vote will pass will be irrelevant. It states that voting is a waste of money.

Todd Meish, leader of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said, “again, Illinois is an anomaly compared to the rest of the Midwest in terms of whether it’s a good environment for doing business. It will show,” he said. “It would be very clear that Illinois should be avoided at all costs.”

Maisch said the wording of Amendment 1 was a concern.

“The first three to four lines that talk about economic well-being and the constitutional right to bargain for economic well-being and security can be greatly expanded,” Maisch said. “All it takes is one union and his one enterprising lawyer to extend these definitions beyond recognition.”

Bowen said he was confident in the outcome based on the enthusiasm he saw from voters.

“I was actually walking to lunch today and saw someone with a ‘I voted’ sticker and happened to ask if they had voted for the Labor Rights Amendment,” Bowen said. “They said to me, ‘Yes, it was the first thing in the vote,’ and that’s how I knew they were telling me the truth.”

Bowen said engaging with voters even before Election Day was an encouraging experience.

“There’s a lot of excitement here, and it’s not something you hear just walking down the streets here in Chicago,” Bowen said. It feels great.”

Mark Poulos, an attorney on the Vote Yes for Workers’ Rights campaign committee and executive director of the Fair Contracts Foundation in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, told the Tribune that efforts to spread the message Said he was happy, but the majors could have spent more money than they have.

“We’ve been on telecasts for literally weeks,” Poulos said. “We’ve been doing digital programs, text programs and ground games for weeks, so I think we’ve done everything right.”

Labor expert Martin Mullin said passing the workers’ rights amendment would raise many questions about how the amendments would be implemented.

“Ultimately, Illinois courts will have to interpret the language,” Mullin said. “If it does, it will raise a lot of questions about the implementation that will probably roll out over the next five, possibly ten years.”

Contributed by Jacob Sheridan of the Chicago Tribune.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/elections/ct-illinois-constitutional-amendment-20221109-i4wal3blbrcetg7zt4nwubqpra-story.html#ed=rss_www.chicagotribune.com/arcio/rss/category/news/ Illinois Voters Consider Labor Rights Amendment

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