CHICAGO (CBS) – Perhaps you hear a conversation about the so-called Labor rights amendment at the November vote in Illinois.
But what does it actually do? CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov reported that depending on who you ask, it will either empower workers or give unions too much power.
Giving Illinois workers the constitutional right to unionize is now Amendment 1 in the November vote. Those who are in favor of Joe Bowen of Vote Yes to Workers ‘Rights, announced an amendment to workers’ rights.
“The Workers’ Rights Amendment will also protect Illinois workers from politicians who will try to pass anti-worker laws in the future,” Bowen said.
In particular, the amendment would “guarantee workers the fundamental right to organize and bargain collectively and to negotiate wages, hours and conditions of work and to promote their economic well-being and safety at work”.
“This applies to all employees in Illinois – it was written so intentionally – and it applies to employees in the public and private sectors,” Bowen said.
But critics such as Austen Berg of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute say its move would be a huge blow to taxpayers.
“This is a very extreme move for Illinois. This will drastically increase government costs. People will see it in the cost of property tax, gas tax, sales tax, income tax bill.
The amendment would also allow workers to “promote their economic welfare and safety at work,” which, according to Berg, would allow unions to demand things beyond traditional wages and benefits – such as affordable housing.
He claims it would basically give unions a carte blanche to ask for whatever they want.
“The powers that are given in this are so broad that no one even knows what the consequences will be – especially in the way our government works,” said Berg.
Bowen replied, “I disagree with that position. What we are doing is protecting your ability to connect with your coworkers to negotiate, and I think it’s important to remember that we are talking about negotiation. “
If the amendment passes, Bowen said workers wishing to unionize would still have to follow the same steps required by federal law. He couldn’t say what would have happened if the employer had nevertheless taken revenge and laid off the workers.
Illinois would also become the fourth state to have similar protection in its constitution.
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