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Friday, April 19, 2024

The Local Pulse – Amendment 1


A few years ago, JB Pritzker spent millions of his family’s fortune to try and convince Illinois voters the state was broke and the only solution was to amend the Illinois Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax. Voters saw the measure for what it was—a money grab—and voted the amendment down by 10 points in 2020. Today, without a graduated tax structure, that same Governor brags about a budget surplus.

This fall, voters will again be asked to amend the Illinois Constitution. But this time, rather than trying to channel your money into the State’s coffers, they want you on the hook to enrich the unions that help and are the primary donors to majority party legislators. On November 8, voters will be asked to add a new section to the Illinois Constitution that strengthens, expands, and enshrines union workers’ ability to collectively bargain.

Unions in Illinois already have the right to collectively bargain, and existing laws are already extremely union-friendly.

So why, when unions are already so incredibly powerful, are we being asked to amend the Constitution? To grow the power and influence of unions, and make their expanded bargaining opportunities a Constitutional right. I doubt very much that the founders of our state’s Constitution had this in mind when they created the framework through which the citizens of this state would be protected. To the contrary, Amendment #1 enriches unions at the expense of Illinois citizens.

The proposed amendment doesn’t just strengthen the power of unions. It also expressly prohibits any law from being passed in the future that would diminish unions’ new rights. If you think it sounds similar to the pension clause that prohibits most attempts at pension reform, you’re right.

I spent enough time in the Legislature to know that when the Democrat Supermajority wants to pass unpopular legislation, they can do it. In recent years, Illinois Democrats gave us the anti-police, anti-public safety SAFE-T Act, the new sex ed curriculum, taxpayer-funded abortions, the repeal of parental notification for abortions for minors, the anti-business Prevailing Wage and Minimum Wage Acts, and the repeal of negotiated pro-business incentives. Make no mistake, they could legislate union workers’ rights, too.

Illinois voters got it right when they voted down Gov. Pritzker’s graduated tax plan, and I am hopeful voters will get it right this time, too. I encourage all Illinoisans who think unions are already too powerful, to vote against Amendment 1 on this November’s ballot. Educate your friends and neighbors, and make sure everyone you know comes out to vote on November 8.

To provide feedback to Grant Wehrli, contact him via email at gwehrli22@gmail.com.

Look for the Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution as the first vote on the ballot.

The proposed amendment would add a new section to the Bill of Rights Article of the Illinois Constitution that would guarantee workers the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively and to negotiate wages, hours, and working conditions, and to promote their economic welfare and safety at work. The new amendment would also prohibit from being passed any new law that interferes with, negates, or diminishes that right of employees to organize and bargain collectively over their ages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment and workplace safety. At the general election to be held on November 8, 2022, you will be called upon to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.

For the proposed addition of Section 25 to Article 1 of the Illinois Constitution.


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Grant Wehrli
Grant Wehrli
Grant Wehrli is a lifelong Naperville Resident and former Representative in the Illinois House of Representatives and Naperville City Councilman.


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