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Are Union Organizers Protected In Illinois?

Dec. 21, 2022

The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act protects union organizers and unions under Illinois employment laws. As such, you have the right to form, join or aid a union as an organizer or an employee without fearing you will lose your job. If your boss threatens to fire you because you want to become a union organizer, you can and should sue for damages.

Your Rights as a Union Organizer

Besides the right to form, aid, and join a union, you can also make a union to discuss the terms and conditions of your employment. Some of the rights you can discuss are your right to:

●        Distribute union-based literature.

●        Wear t-shirts, buttons, and other insignias on the union.

●        Ask co-workers to sign cards authorizing the union.

●        Discuss the union with colleagues.

In any case, your boss or employer cannot spy on you or say they have their eye on you, question you, bribe you, or threaten you to give up your union activities. Additionally, they cannot fire, demote, penalize or discipline you for participating in these activities.

However, your employer may enforce workplace policies that limit union activities. This includes prohibiting you from discussions and solicitations for the union during work hours. But they cannot prohibit you from doing these things during your break or before you come in for work. This means they cannot fire or penalize you if you distribute pamphlets advertising the union during your break. You can also solicit colleagues in non-work areas such as the parking lot.

What's Ahead for Union Organizers in Illinois

Union organizers and workers may have more to celebrate this year if Amendment 1 is passed. This proposed change to the state's Constitution gives unions more power. It is also known as the workers' rights amendment and is made up of four parts:

  1. Employees have the right to bargain through the representatives they choose.

  2. Employees can negotiate work hours, wages, and safety to protect their economic well-being.

  3. No Illinois employment laws or laws, in general, shall be passed that reduce employee rights to bargain collectively for the rights mentioned above.

  4. No Illinois employment laws or laws, in general, shall be passed that forbid the application of agreements between unions and employers.

The amendment will give unions and their leaders more bargaining power and freedom than state lawmakers. A vote will be passed in the first week of November.

But if you are facing discrimination because of your union efforts, you can still seek legal action against them with help from an employment attorney.

Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith and Associates for a Consultation 

No one can work well if they feel threatened in the workplace. Since you have the right to form or represent unions, your employer cannot legally fire you. If they threaten to do so, contact our attorneys at the Law Office of Michael T. Smith and Associates to discuss your legal options by dialing 847-750-3851. We also represent clients who are victims of race, religion, age, or other protected factors in their workplace. Fight for the outcome you deserve with our help!