Illinois General Assembly passed numerous pro-worker bills this session

The Illinois General Assembly wrapped up the 2024 spring session on Wednesday, May 29, sending many pro-worker bills to the Governor’s desk.

Among the biggest victories of the session:

The Illinois Worker Freedom of Speech Act passed the General Assembly on a bipartisan roll call. SB 3649 protects employees if they opt out of employer-sponsored meetings on religious or political matters, including union organizing. Captive audience meetings are one of the most powerful union-busting tools in employers’ toolkit. This legislation carried by Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) and Leader Marcus C. Evans Jr. (D-Chicago) gives employees protection if they choose to disengage.

The SAFE Carbon Capture and Sequestration Act sponsored by Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) and Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago) passed after months of negotiations between Labor unions, environmentalists, and business groups facilitated by the Governor’s Office. The Act puts a CO2 pipeline moratorium in place until PHMSA finalizes updated safety rules, or July 2026, whichever is sooner. The legislation also includes significant incentives for developers to use union Labor through several Project Labor Agreement provisions on every part of potential projects. The University of Illinois estimated that the CCS industry will create 14,400 jobs and generate over $3 billion in revenue for Illinois.

Public sector unions face significant delays when waiting for Unfair Labor Practice decisions from Illinois Labor Relations Board and Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. As a first step to fixing these issues, the Illinois AFL-CIO worked with House Leader Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) and Senate Leader Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) on HB 5324 which requires the ILRB and IELRB to comply with new reporting measures and timeframe goals to resolve Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) cases. 

Child labor violations are rising nationally, and several states, including Iowa, proudly weakened their child Labor protections. This session, the Illinois Department of Labor, with support from the Labor Movement passed legislation carried by Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) and House Leader Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora), strengthening Illinois’ Child Labor Law. Changes include improved structure for readability, increased penalties when children are hurt or killed while on the job, and an updated list of prohibited and restricted occupations.

Some other highlights of the session:


  • Community Care Program workers will get a $1 raise increasing their wage to $18 an hour.
  • Direct Support Professionals received funding for a $1 per hour raise. Labor secured a funding formula to ensure that 75 percent of that raise will go directly to workers’ pay, and 25 percent will go to providers for extra pay, benefits etc. at their discretion.
  • Musicians tax credit: $1 million in funding allocated for a musician’s tax credit to encourage production companies to record movie and TV scores in Illinois.
  • Journalism tax credit: $5 million in funding to a tax credit for new journalists and local journalists annually to encourage the revival of local journalism.
  • $50 million to Illinois’ first Child Tax Credit.
  • Capital plan increased by $500 million to $3.5 billion
  • Illinois Works: $50 million this year, and $12 million reappropriated from last year.
  • The school funding formula received an additional $350 million.


• Several specialized pension fixes passed the General Assembly this spring. Organized Labor supports a comprehensive fix to the unfair and immoral Tier 2 pension system.

We Are One will continue advocating for pension reform throughout the summer and into the fall Veto session.

(Source: Illinois AFL-CIO)

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