Constitutional amendment guarantees right to bargain for Illinois workers
Chicago—On Decermber 15, Governor JB Pritzker celebrated the passage of the Workers’ Rights Amendment to the Illinois Constitution. Governor Pritzker issued a proclamation announcing passage of the amendment and joined labor leaders and legislators in celebrating the achievement.
“Illinois holds a rich union history; from the 1887 Haymarket Affair to the 1894 Pullman Strike, Illinois laborers have been at the forefront of fighting for fair wages, reasonable hours, and safe working conditions,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This is a major win for workers rights that will outlast any single politicians’ term and enshrine a key right for Illinoisans for generations to come.”
Under Illinois law, the Governor must issue an official proclamation announcing the passage of a constitutional amendment after it is certified by the State Board of Elections. The Workers’ Rights Amendment, which passed with 54.5% of total ballots cast, enshrines the right to collective bargaining in the Illinois Constitution. The amendment asked voters to establish a constitutional right to negotiate “wages, hours, and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work.”
Governor Pritzker has been a strong ally to organized labor throughout his first term in office. Rebuild Illinois, Governor Pritzker’s historic infrastructure package, was passed with strong support from labor unions and has already put thousands of union workers to work. The administration has also focused on workforce development programs across the state to build a base of qualified employees for electric vehicles, aviation mechanics, and manufacturing, among other industries. Most recently, Governor Pritzker’s administration organized a bipartisan deal alongside labor unions and the business community to pay back unemployment insurance debt without raising employer premiums.
“There is nothing more honorable than honest work and the men and women who give their best as they labor,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “The people of Illinois made their voices known and made it clear that we will continue to protect the rights of workers and uplift our labor history in this state. As we celebrate its passage today, the Workers’ Rights Amendment will live on as a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering equity and opportunity for the working families who help make our state so great.”
“Illinoisans put working people first when they passed the Workers’ Rights Amendment,” said IL AFL-CIO President Tim Drea. “Fighting for workers’ rights is and always will be our lane. I look forward to continuing to build on the strong solidarity of our statewide labor movement and working with elected officials like Governor Pritzker who are not afraid to do the right thing for the working people of Illinois.”
“We have long valued and appreciated the working-class citizens of IL, and now, under the Leadership of Governor Pritzker, our law truly reflects that view,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Marcus Evans (D-Chicago). “With this new amendment we have set a historic standard in our constitution that the efforts of the working class man and woman are and should always be appreciated, a model I hope other states in the nation will choose to follow.”
“Workers in all industries should have the right to organize, as well as bargain for better wages and working conditions,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “The voters have spoken. By being the first state in the nation to enshrine workers’ rights in our constitution, Illinois is setting the standard nationwide. We must continue to act to preserve and protect these rights for future generations of working people.”