EDITORIAL: Vote yes for Worker’s Rights Amendment


Editorial Staff

We at the News fully support the Worker’s Rights Amendment proposed on this year’s election ballot to amend the Illinois Constitution’s first amendment.

This amendment, which would be added under Article I in the Illinois Constitution, would provide some protection Illinois workers without the workers being a part of a trade or labor union.

Unions are organizations providing a way for workers to gather and use their strength as a group instead of individuals to work to improve working conditions and better pay and raises.

The proposed amendment would, according to workersrights.com:

  • Guarantee workers’ rights to gather and negotiate pay raises and raising wages for all Illinois workers
  • Ensure workers can speak about situations without fearing punishment or retaliation
  • Ensures workers have proper training to do their jobs efficiently, including first responders and their training
  • Make the way for better pay and raises easier
  • Protect workers’ safety and ensure safe working conditions

The amendment proposed to be added under Article I of the Illinois Constitution reads as followed:

“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. 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, including any law or ordinance that prohibits the execution or application of agreements between employers and labor organizations that represent employees requiring membership in an organization as a condition of employment.”

For the proposed amendment to pass to ratify the Illinois Constitution first amendment, there are two options.

First, if at least three-fifths, or 60 percent, of people voting in Illinois vote yes to pass the proposal, the first amendment would be ratified to include the amendment.

Second, a simple majority could pass the amendment. This would be 50 percent plus one of all voters, including those who did not answer yes or no on the voting ballot.

There are three other states, Missouri, New York and Hawaii, that have passed a version of a worker’s rights to organize and bargain together into their state’s constitution.

Many unions across Illinois are in support of passing the amendment.

This includes Eastern’s chapters of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME Local 981, and the University of Illinois Professionals, EIU-UPI.

Last year, AFSCME Local 981 ended their contract negotiations with Eastern administration after several years of negotiating and working without a contract. 

AFSCME struggled to achieve a fair, new contract until last year, which the process could have been easier with the benefits from the Worker’s Rights Amendment.

Currently, EIU-UPI is still working towards a fair contract with increased pay for the last eight months. EIU-UPI have been working without a contract since Aug. 31.

Both Kim Turner, the president of AFSCME Local 981, and Betsy Jewell, a member on the EIU-UPI negotiating team, both recently spoke at a Worker’s Rights Rally hosted by the Coles Progressive and Coles County Democrats on Sunday in support of the amendment.

We at the News fully support the Worker’s Rights Amendment and urge those able to vote, to vote yes on this amendment and also to go out and vote on election day Nov. 8.


The Editorial Staff can be reached at 581-2812.