Illinois House passes bill to hinder public employee rights

October 30, 2019

Senate Bill 1784 would create egregious worker restrictions and block public access to information

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Oct. 30, 2019) – A bill that would impede on public sector workers’ rights passed the Illinois House of Representatives yesterday. The Illinois House of Representatives voted 93-23 to pass Senate Bill 1784, and it heads to the Senate today for concurrence before moving to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.

SB 1784 amends aspects of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act to restrict government employees’ exercise of their freedom of speech and association. It also blocks non-union entities, such as the media, from obtaining information vital to educating the public.

The bill would:

  • Limit what information the public or media can access through the Freedom of Information Act about how many public retirees leave Illinois or how Illinois union membership is performing.
  • Create contracts that give public sector employees as few as 10 days each year to stop union dues deductions from their paychecks. That means employees who decide they don’t want to be members could be limited to exercising their rights only 2% of the year.
  • Provide public sector unions with unprecedented access to workers’ contact information, regardless of whether or not they are union members.
  • Restrict all membership-related communication to be handled by the union – not employers – allowing unions to determine the information available to public sector workers and putting workers in potential situations of conflict.
  • Allow unions to insert themselves into the workplace in a way not previously authorized by Illinois statute.
  • Opens Illinois up for future litigation.

Statement on SB 1784 from Mailee Smith, staff attorney and director of labor policy:

“By restricting access to information, this law prioritizes union interests and leaves the public largely in the dark. We see what this bill is designed to do: aid in unions’ pursuit of power, not protect the privacy and well being of public sector workers.

“In a state government polluted by debt and corruption, Illinoisans should fear lawmaker efforts to further reduce transparency. General information that was once used to produce powerful exposes will no longer be available. That is a cause for concern.”

For more information on SB 1784, visit http://illin.is/sb1784.

For bookings or interviews, contact media@illinoispolicy.org or (312) 607-4977.