Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed into law the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, which became effective April 12, 2019. Under the new law, local governments will no longer be able to pass right-to-work ordinances.
The legislation is a signal of Gov. Pritzker’s approach to workforce regulation. A similar bill was passed in the previous General Assembly session, but the law was vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner.
The Act explains, “It is the policy of the State of Illinois that employers, employees, and their labor organizations are free to negotiate collectively.”
The Act prevents any “legislation, rule, law, ordinance, or otherwise” from restricting union security agreements as authorized under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRB). Any legislation that does prohibit these agreements between employers and labor organizations “is a violation of this Act and void.”
The law follows the recent 7th Circuit case of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 v. Village of Lincolnshire, 905 F.3d 995 (7th Cir. 2018), which allowed states to pass right-to-work legislation under the National Labor Relations Act. However, the federal court determined that it did not extend the same rights to be passed down to municipalities. That case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and is pending certiorari. It is unclear how the new law will affect the pending appeal.
The Act also notes that it serves as a “denial and limitation of home rule powers and functions under subsection (h) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution.”
Public Act 101-0003 (effective April 12, 2019); 820 ILCS 12- et seq.
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