SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, is pushing to ensure cities and towns don’t pass laws which weaken unions and endanger workers’ access to safe, fair-paying jobs.
“Strong unions are the backbone of a workforce composed of good-paying, safe jobs and employers who treat their workers with respect and fairness,” Halpin said. “When unions are in secure negotiating positions, they keep hard-working Illinoisans safe from exploitation and ensure that our families can count on consistent salaries and benefits to maintain their middle-class lifestyle.”
Halpin is supporting Senate Bill 1474, or the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, which prohibits any laws limiting union agreements with an employer. This is in response to a national debate over “right-to-work” laws that have come up in other states. These laws prohibit agreements requiring union membership as a condition of employment. “Right-to-work” laws often significantly weaken a union’s bargaining position, and weaken employee rights and benefits. Under those laws, workers can take advantage of all rights and privileges guaranteed to them by their union contract, but do not have to pay for that service, forcing the costs of those rights and privileges onto their fellow workers. The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act would prohibit local governments from imposing “right-to-work” laws, and so help unions maintain strong bargaining positions and enforce worker rights.
“If we let “right-to-work” laws come to Illinois, working families, especially union members will face significant and lasting setbacks,” Halpin said. “When unions get weaker, workers lose protection, and some employers will take advantage of that. Passing any so-called “right-to-work” law would undoubtedly lead to the loss of good jobs around Illinois.”