The Biden administration continues advocating for the PRO Act to increase Big Labor’s power at the expense of jobs for workers and opportunities for small businesses. Despite the numerous threats on the federal level, serious pro-union damage has been occurring at the state and local level to the detriment of the American people.
One of the biggest pro-big labor pushes, for example, is occurring in Illinois. Next November, voters will vote on a so-called “Worker’s Rights Amendment” that ironically eliminates the rights of workers by banning “right-to-work.” Effectively this law will force Illinois workers to choose between paying off a union boss and putting food on the table.
The 27 states that have implemented right-to-work laws have generally seen positive economic outcomes. Economic output from 2001-2016, for example, rose by 38 percent in right-to-work states compared to 21 percent in non-right-to-work states. This had a beneficial effect on workers, as from 2001-2016, personal income in right-to-work states increased by more than 10% compared to non-right-to-work states. Based on household survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2007-2017, the percentage of growth in the number of people employed in right-to-work states was 8.8% compared to 4.2% in forced-unionism states. Additionally, the growth in total private sector employment increased by 13.0% in right to work states compared to 10.1% in forced-unionism states. The Illinois constitutional question essentially would cap the capacity for states to take measures to enhance the rate of economic progress for workers and businesses.
This amendment would crush Illinois workers. All the surrounding states to Illinois, besides Missouri, qualify as right-to-work states. The states that Illinois competes with most economically have the exact right-to-work laws that the Worker’s Rights Amendment will permanently abolish. Historical data supports these trends as, according to the Bureau of the Census, the growth in the number of residents aged 35-54 was 1.6% in right-to-work states compared to a 7.4% decline in growth in forced-unionism states. More businesses will develop outside of Illinois than within the state, due to the immense, unchecked power granted to labor unions, permanently harming their economy. Due to the geographically convenient and beneficial surroundings for businesses, there is a unique ease of access for businesses to move outside Illinois.
If the Worker’s Rights Amendment removes rights from workers or employers, then who gains rights from this amendment? Big Labor. By giving Big Labor the right to force workers to enter unions, their power in workplaces increase. They also would receive more money from more workers as workers would be forced to pay union dues, even if they normally would prefer to keep their paycheck over any potential union benefits. This money many times also gets spent for partisan purposes. In the last election cycle, over 85% of the Laborers Union PAC donations went to Democratic political candidates. Furthermore, the Illinois Policy Institute pointed out that unions gave $15.1 million to the Illinois lawmakers who pushed to put this amendment on the ballot. Even if an employee identifies as a Republican, their paychecks may go to increasing the electoral chances of Democratic candidates without their consent or awareness. Under the Worker’s Rights Amendment, unions would have the right to greater control over workers and their paychecks, while workers lose the right to opt out of this disastrous arrangement.
The sweeping pro-union boss anti-worker effort in Illinois presents an example of developments that threaten workers and businesses at the state level, even if the PRO Act has received more national attention.