Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Illinois Workers' Rights Amendment

Members of the Chicago Federation of Labor show their support for the Illinois Workers' Rights Amendment. (Photo: Chicago Federation of Labor/Facebook)

'Workers Win' as Illinois Passes Pro-Labor Constitutional Amendment

"Workers' rights are now in our state constitution," the Chicago Federation of Labor cheered, "and now our right to negotiate safe working conditions and fair pay will never be taken away!"

Brett Wilkins

Labor advocates on Tuesday applauded the passage of an Illinois state constitutional amendment enshrining what one proponent called "the strongest worker protections in the nation."

"Illinois is and always will be a workers' rights state. This victory is a historic moment for our workers and our entire state."

With 100% of precincts reporting Tuesday—a week after Election Day—the Associated Press reported that the Workers' Rights Amendment had received 58% of the vote.

The amendment codifies "the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively." It further states that "no law shall be passed that interferes with, negates, or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively over their wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment and workplace safety."

Tim Drea, chair of the Vote Yes for Workers' Rights campaign, said in a statement that "the voters of Illinois sent a clear message by passing the Workers' Rights Amendment."

"Illinois is and always will be a workers' rights state," Drea added. "This victory is a historic moment for our workers and our entire state."

Labor and progressive groups, as well as a broad range of Democrats from Gov. J.B. Pritzker to U.S. Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García, backed the amendment, which was staunchly opposed by the Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, and Republicans.

"Yes" campaign spokesperson Joe Bowen asserted that "being able to protect everyone's ability to step up and organize their workplace is a critical component to making sure everyone has access to some higher paying jobs and safer workplaces."

"Specifically, you've certainly seen a lot of abuses—Starbucks baristas or folks who might work at Amazon warehouses," he added. "But these historical examples have existed for generations and it's really important that we do what we can to secure these rights for Illinoisans."

The Chicago Federation of Labor hailed the amendment's passage as "a win for every single working class individual in Illinois."

"Workers' rights are now in our state constitution," the organization tweeted. "We are proud of every single worker in Illinois who chose to vote for themselves on Nov. 8. WE are what makes Illinois great, and now OUR right to negotiate safe working conditions and fair pay will never be taken away!"

It was a good election for workers' rights, with voters in several states and cities saying employees—including those who earn tipsshould be paid more. A measure that would pay medical workers in one California city $25 an hour is also expected to pass.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·

Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·

Betrayal of Railway Workers Ignites Working-Class Fury Toward Biden and Democrats

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic," said one rail leader. "Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class 1 rail carriers every time."

Jessica Corbett ·

With GOP House Control Looming, Pascrell Calls for Swift Release of Trump Tax Records

"Donald Trump tried to hide his tax returns from our oversight but after 1,329 days we have finally obtained the documents," said the New Jersey Democrat. "We should review and release them."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo