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The Dangers of Illinois as a 'Right to Work' State


Gov. Rauner has asked state and local lawmakers to consider adopting union-free business zones. So let’s imagine Illinois as a “right to work” state.

First a clarification. The phrase “right to work” is a misnomer that has little to do with the right of a person to seek and accept gainful employment. Anti-union proponents use “right to work” to refer to an option under federal labor law that allows workers employed by a unionized employer to receive the full benefits of a labor contract without paying for any of the cost to gain those benefits. In fact, no employee anywhere in the country has to join a union and no employer has to sign a labor agreement.

In Illinois, nearly 900,000 workers employed by thousands of union employers are covered by labor-management agreements, which shape the middle class standards that prevail in the state. If, however, Illinois adopted rules that allowed workers to forsake their obligations toward the common good, not only would it violate the fairness principle, but also the capacity to protect the quality of life for all workers would be damaged. Union bargained contracts unquestionably provide workers with higher incomes, more and better benefits and a stronger “voice” in the workplace. However, when workers are encouraged to accept the higher standards of living that flow from unionized workplaces, while also opting out of making any financial contributions to the contracts that protect them, then the capacity of unions to lift up all workers will be compromised.

Read more at Chicago Sun-Times.




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