What the Proposed Workers’ Rights Amendment Could Mean for Illinois

September 5, 2022

(WTTW Chicago Tonight)—As the U.S. observes Labor Day, Illinois voters are set to cast their ballots in the November general election on a state constitutional amendment that could give workers more rights in the workplace.

The so-called Workers’ Rights Amendment would guarantee Illinois workers the constitutional right to collectively bargain for things like wages, hours and working conditions.

“By giving unions power, you give workers power,” said Marc Poulos, executive director of the Indiana, Illinois and Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting. “Unions are one of the single-most democratic institutions in the country.”

Poulos believes the proposed amendment would lead to safer workplaces and more pay for Illinois employees.

The Liberty Justice Center and the Illinois Policy Institute have led legal challenges in an attempt to remove the amendment from the ballot. They have been unsuccessful in lower state courts and are now trying to get their case heard by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Those opposing the amendment fear it could give labor unions too much power and lead to higher taxes.

“Illinois has very strong public sector unions, some of the strongest in the country, and so take a look at Illinois’ economy, look at our taxes, look at the businesses and residents fleeing this state because of the burden their governments and their taxes put on them,” said Jacob Huebert, president of the Liberty Justice Center.

The amendment is set to be on the ballot on Nov. 8.