Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill backed by state Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, that would protect labor unions against “right-to-work” laws.
The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, S.B. 1474, prohibits laws limiting union agreements with an employer and is a response to “right-to-work” legislation passed in other states, according to a news release.
“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 argued “right-to-work” laws prohibit agreements requiring union membership as a condition of employment, often significantly weaken a union’s bargaining position and weaken employee rights and benefits. He said under such laws, workers can take advantage of the rights and privileges guaranteed by union contracts without paying for those services.
The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, Connor said, would prohibit local governments from imposing “right-to-work” laws, and, in doing so, would help unions maintain strong bargaining positions to 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.”