SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A new law backed by state Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, will prohibit laws that hurt workers’ bargaining positions or endanger their access to safe, good-paying jobs.
“Illinois needs good-paying jobs with safe working conditions, and for that to happen, unions need to be strong,” Connor said. “Secure negotiating positions are key to a union’s effectiveness. Any laws that weaken that position hurt every worker involved. Unions help grow our middle class and ensure hard-working Illinoisans aren’t exploited.”
Connor backed Senate Bill 1474, or the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, which was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Connor’s measure 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.
“‘Right-to-work’ laws threaten union families and workers everywhere, and we have to keep them out of Illinois,” Connor said. “Bad actors can take advantage of workers who are not protected by strong unions. When workers’ bargaining power is limited, those employers have opportunities to make money by cutting corners, slashing paychecks and putting families’ wellbeing at risk.”