JB Pritzker has just given near unlimited power to organized labor inside of Illinois following the midterm elections, with the passage of the “Right To Work Act.”
Amendments to the Illinois constitution are rare events, and they require substantial public support. When an amendment is proposed, it must garner 60% of the vote (from the people voting on it), or 50% of the total votes cast, or it fails. But, the biggest indicator for the conservative crowd as to whether or not this amendment was a good thing was the insane amount of money being spent to make sure this passed.
Despite the amendment’s passage, the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank that ran the “Vote No on Amendment 1” campaign committee, declined to concede the initiative on election night.
IPI president and CEO, Matt Paprocki, commented, “The State Board of Elections is the ultimate authority on this issue. Right now, the amendment is getting just over 50% of total voters in a low turnout year, despite opponents spending $16 million.”
However, Pritzker and labor leaders proclaimed victory following AP’s call, noting that Illinois is now one of only four states that guarantees collective bargaining rights. Experts have said that Illinois’s guarantee exceeds those in New York, Missouri, and Hawaii. The amendment not only guarantees the right to organize for the most common elements of collective bargaining, such as wages, hours and working conditions, but also has additions for “economic welfare and safety at work.”
It is also the first time that a state has banned right-to-work laws through a constitutional amendment. By allowing workers to avoid paying fair share fees to unions, right-to-work laws disempower unions. Union fees are used for nonpolitical activities such as collective bargaining.
What JB Pritzker and union bosses just did was take away every local employer’s ability to negotiate wages appropriately with public union representatives. A public union will also be able to negotiate and receive whatever it wants at the bargaining table under the amendment. This includes police, fire, and other public safety employees who cannot walk off their jobs at the moment. Those in public unions will be able to bargain over the right to strike under the amendment. Additionally, the amendment will prevent the state or local units of government from creating any laws or ordinances that prohibit unlimited giveaways at the bargaining table — allowing public sector unions to demand and receive unlimited pay and benefits- all while feeding that money back to the Union coffers and to politicians’ pockets and campaign coffers.
As a result of the amendment, no law or local ordinance will allow individuals to decide whether or not to join a union without losing their jobs. Thus, employees will be forced to join a union already entrenched at their employer in order to keep their jobs under this measure. This amendment effectively prevents Illinois from ever becoming a right-to-work state, even though it is currently a NON right-to-work state – well not any more.
This Amendment was designed to, forever, allow public unions to control Springfield. Its not like they didn’t already- but now it is in the state’s constitution.
So, what options remain to the public to fight this?
Unfortunately not many. But there are opportunities for us to continue to ask questions, get organized and try to fight this in court, or have the amendment removed during the next election cycle. In the meantime please reach out to the ILGOP, and your local Republican officials (what few there are) and ask them why they did not fight harder to get this done. Albeit there are many staunch conservatives who did fight this tooth and nail, but we all know the Representatives and Senators who focused more on their races, and cared little for ballot initiatives, or for the State Supreme court races in which the Democrats grew their supermajority on.
Elections have consequences.