Workers’ rights constitutional amendment to go on Illinois ballot

DEMONSTRATORS RALLY in support of Wisconsin workers at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Feb. 26, 2011. – Seth Perlman/AP photo

Springfield, IL – The Illinois House last week passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would effectively ban “right-to-work” laws in the state. It will now go before voters in the November general election.

Called the Workers’ Rights Constitutional Amendment, the measure passed the House on a vote of 80-30 with three voting present. It passed in the Senate the previous week on a 49-7 vote.

Democrats supported the plan in both chambers, while Republicans –
all but a few – voted against it.

To become law, the amendment in November will need either a 60 percent approval by those who vote specifically on the amendment, or “yes” votes representing a majority of all ballots cast in the election.

If approved, the amendment will add the following language to the Illinois constitution’s bill of rights: “Employees shall have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating wages, hours and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work.”

The Democrats who represent the Metro-East in the House voted for the measure, including Jay Hoffman of Swansea, LaToya Greenwood of East St. Louis and Katie Stuart of Edwardsville.

It should be noted that while a few Republicans across the state joined in voting for it, those in the Metro-East region voted against ensuring workers’ rights in the constitution.

Republican Metro-East representatives who voted against the measure included David Friess of Red Bud, Amy Elik of Alton, Paul Jacobs of Carbondale, Charlie Meier of Washington County and Avery Bourne of Raymond.



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