By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
At a Jan. 26 meeting, the central committee of the Macoupin County Democratic Party officially proposed an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would allow workers to have increased collective bargaining rights.
“We are committed to supporting the right of all to bargain collectively in the State of Illinois, and we support Organized Labor’s efforts to uplift working families and the middle class throughout Illinois and the nation,” Macoupin County Democratic Party Chair and Bunker Hill native Pam Monetti said in a written statement.
As illustrated in the amendment, 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 while protecting their economic welfare and safety within a workspace. Any law interfering with, negating, or diminishing the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively over their wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment and workplace safety shall be barred. This additionally includes any law or ordinance prohibiting the execution or application of agreements between employers and labor organizations that represent employees requiring membership in an organization as a condition of employment.
In an on-phone interview, Monetti referred to unions ‘as the great equalizer’ for all Illinois citizens.
“When it comes to people of color, women, people of different economical positions, joining a union is how all of them can rise up and provide,” Monetti said. “This is not about partisanship. It’s about working families and being able to have the opportunity to bargain with the employees for a living working wage.”
Supporters are praising the move as a beneficial way of keeping citizens separated from “right-to-work” policies that prohibit any agreement requiring union membership as an employment condition.
On the other hand, those opposed to the amendment have voiced concerns of union contracts being separated “beyond the reach” of Illinois law.
Currently, 28 states that include each of Illinois’ neighbors with the exception of Missouri, follow some form of right-to-work laws or constitutional amendments, according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The “Illinois Right to Collective Bargaining,” which had been previously approved within both houses of the Illinois General Assembly last May, will be featured on the electoral ballot this November. It must draw at least a 60 percent positive vote to be eligible for constitutional ratification.