Fact check: Unions backing Amendment 1 killed bill to help nurses

Fact check: Unions backing Amendment 1 killed bill to help nurses

A new ad falsely claims Amendment 1 will protect nurses’ rights at private children’s hospitals. The same government unions who paid for the ad ended legislation that truly would have helped nurses.

A new ad for Amendment 1 is falsely claiming it would protect private-sector nurses, but government unions backing the constitutional change stifled legislation that would have allowed more nurses to come to Illinois.

The COVID-19 pandemic aggravated a shortage of nurses in Illinois. Politicians had the opportunity to help by adding Illinois to the Nurse Licensure Compact, an agreement among 39 states to accept nursing licenses. The compact lets nurses living in one of the 39 states practice across state lines without going through an additional license process – a help during a pandemic or when a nurse decides to volunteer at an out-of-state children’s cancer camp.

State Rep. Sarah Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, introduced legislation that would have added Illinois to the compact. It received support from groups dedicated to caring for the sick, elderly and disabled.

But Feigenholtz’s bill died after it was opposed by the Illinois AFL-CIO, the same group advocating for Amendment 1.

The ad also uses a private children’s hospital as an example. According to one of its sponsors, Amendment 1 doesn’t apply to that hospital.

State Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, said, “as federal labor law stands today, the amendment could not apply to the private sector.”

Nonetheless, government union leaders are pouring millions into ads for Amendment 1, telling voters the opposite of what state lawmakers said was true.

Voters have the power to approve Amendment 1, but not the power to change it. If approved, Amendment 1 allows union contracts to override state law, leaving voters no way to object. It also would guarantee a $2,100 property tax increase over the next four years by giving government unions the power to make greater demands that must be funded by taxpayers.

If government union bosses had nurses in mind, they would’ve backed Illinois joining the nursing compact like 39 other states. Instead, they want their special interest given powers no other state has decided is either needed or smart.

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