Illinois lawmakers vote against bill to protect state workers from having their Social Security number shared with unions

March 17, 2017
By Mailee Smith

Through collective bargaining agreements with the state, government-worker unions require access to workers’ social security numbers – even if those workers are not members of the union. A bill protecting worker privacy recently failed to get enough votes to pass out of committee.

Illinois state workers represented by government-worker unions – including childcare workers and personal assistants – have little control over their personal information. Unions representing workers can demand that the state hand over employees’ personal information, even if the workers are not union members.

That personal information includes social security numbers.

Recently, a bill was filed in the Illinois General Assembly that would better protect workers’ privacy – but it failed to get enough votes to pass out of committee.

Workers are not currently protected against the distribution of private personal information, including social security numbers. In fact, collective bargaining agreements between the state and SEIU contain specific provisions that require the state to provide the union with the security numbers of the personal assistants and childcare providers it represents.

And that is where House Bill 660 came into play. HB 660 would have prohibited the state from providing unions with the Social Security numbers of bargaining unit employees. And it would have prohibited the union from requesting Social Security numbers from the state as part of collective bargaining agreements.

Social Security numbers are sensitive personal information. Unions should have to seek those numbers directly from the people they wish to represent – not secretly and behind workers’ backs. Allowing unions to request lists of these numbers from the state undermines workers’ ability to control this information.

Unfortunately, HB 660 will not become reality in Illinois ­– at least not yet.

Below are the representatives who voted “no” to passing HB 660 out of committee:

Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora)

Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago)

John C. D’Amico (D-Chicago)

Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville)

Frances A. Hurley (D-Chicago)

Thaddeus Jones (D-Calumet City)

Stephanie A. Kifowit (D-Aurora)

Theresa Mah (D-Chicago)

Robert Martwick (D-Chicago)

Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan)

Anna Moeller (D-Elgin)

Silvana Tabares (D-Chicago)

Lawrence Walsh, Jr. (D-Joliet)

Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Westchester)

Ann M. Williams (D-Chicago)

TAGS: AFSCME: American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, Anna Moeller, labor, Stephanie Kifowit, unions