Illinois sets example against Right to Work

Posted Apr. 16, 2019 by

After four years of an anti-worker Governor, workers in Illinois have had enough. Illinois’s former billionaire Governor, Bruce Rauner, despised labor unions and even refused to bargain with state employees. He also strongly backed the Janus lawsuit that originated in Illinois. That suit, under Rauner’s tenure, eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was upheld, making the country “Right to Work” for public employees.

Now, Illinoisans are taking their state back.

Pro-worker legislators passed a bill last week prohibiting local governments from passing so-called Right to Work Zone ordinances for private sector workers. And the new Governor immediately signed the bill into law. "From the start, right-to-work was an idea cooked up to lower wages, slash benefits and hurt our working families," Governor Pritzker told the Chicago Tribune. " 'Right-to-work' has always meant, 'right to work for less money,' and it's wrong for Illinois." Read the news article.

Ohioans wrestled with a similar problem here when, after defeating Senate Bill 5, townships starting eyeing similar provisions to limit collective bargaining. In West Chester, Ohio, township trustees tried to enact a local Right to Work resolution. But union members showed up at their township meetings by the hundreds in protest. Eventually, the move was defeated.

“The fact remains, the majority of Americans support labor unions and our freedom to come together for better wages and a better life, and you’re seeing that at the ballot box,” said OCSEA Pres. Chris Mabe. “The only way the powers that be can win, is by cheating and, frankly, not telling the truth about labor unions,” said Mabe. “Right to Work has always been a trumped-up PR campaign to lower people’s wages and standard of living. But people have had enough,” he said.

Upon being sworn in this year, Gov. Pritzker also immediately moved to give pay raises to state employees, after being denied raises for years by the former governor.