Illinois voters will decide on the Workers’ Rights Amendment in November

ILLINOIS (KWQC) – When Illinois voters head to the polls in November, in addition to voting for individual candidates, they will also decide whether to approve a new amendment to the state constitution.

Amendment 1, or the “Right to Collective Bargaining Actions,” aims to add direct union rights to the Illinois Bill of Rights.

On November 8, voters will see the following questions in their ballots:

The proposal outlines ideas like bargaining for wages, hours and working conditions as a fundamental right in Illinois. It also includes language that would make it more difficult for the General Assembly to pass any so-called “right-to-work” laws.

Leaders on both sides say it could be a decision that will last for generations.

Marvel Porter, a 95-year-old who used to work in phone banks, is pushing for what supporters call “Workers’ Rights Reform.”

He said he wants the next generation to have the same constitutionally protected rights as a unionized union worker.

“We need it for the future of our young people,” Porter said. “Years ago, in the workplace, you could say and do a lot, but nowadays it’s better to keep your mouth shut, which is why we need this law.”

On the other hand, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce spoke out against the measure. President and CEO Todd Maisch said the language was too vague.

“Working conditions as a term is there. None of them have been identified,” Meish. “All it takes is a union and an enterprising attorney to file lawsuits and just kind of keep expanding those things.”

Mish also argued that the reforms would create an anti-business environment in the state.

“It’s going to make Illinois really anti-competitive for a very long time,” Maish said. “It will send a terrible, terrible message to people who create jobs [and] invest here in the state of Illinois because Illinois will excel once again.”

Still, Pat Devaney, secretary-treasurer of the Illinois AFL-CIO, said he believes it will attract more business.

“They’re looking for something that Illinois has so much of, and we want to maintain and grow that,” Devaney said. “It’s a highly skilled and trained workforce.”

The Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian nonprofit, claims the amendment would raise property taxes by $2,100. Dewani denied the allegations

“This amendment has nothing to do with property taxes,” Devaney said. “What this Bill of Rights Amendment will do is give workers the right to join unions. [and] set up”.

The Illinois Chamber does not fully agree with the IPI number, but they believe it could have a negative impact on property taxes. Either way, Maish urged voters to do their research before heading to the polls.

“If this effort is successful, it could be with us for a generation or more,” Maish said. “You have to be very, very skeptical of changing the constitution.”

Amendments must be approved by 60 percent of the people who voted for them, or a majority of those who vote in the elections.

If approved, the section would read:

The Illinois Manufacturers Association also opposes the measure, but they have not yet responded to TV6 News’ request for an interview.

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