During this WGN Radio interview from May 10, 2017, Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan discussed his working relationships with Republican governors versus Governor Rauner. Madigan also said that Gov. Rauner is committed to turning Illinois into a Right to Work state. Listen to the interview.
“Right to work” (RTW) is a misnomer, having little if anything to do with “rights” or reasonable ability to gain employment; rather, RTW is a state-level policy that restricts the liberty of the labor union and employer to form a contract, with the intent to discourage union activities.
An intensive multi-university study was undertaken by labor and public policy academics, culminating in the October 2013 release of a policy report that detailed the economic effects of adopting a Right to Work law, and what that might mean for Illinois. The determinations outlined in this collaborative report are as follows:
- RTW lowers worker earnings.
- RTW reduces union membership.
- RTW increases gender and racial wage inequality.
- RTW reduces employee benefits and increases workplace fatalities.
- Adopting a Right to Work law would have a negative impact on Illinois’ economy and budget.
In April 2017, a research study conducted by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign investigated the effect Right to Work laws passed in Midwest states have on workers. Researchers Frank Manzo IV of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and Robert Bruno of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign compared Right to Work states for which there is available data—Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin—to three Midwest states that remained collective-bargaining states—Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio—from January 2010 through December 2016.
What the study found: As of 2016, there were significant differences between the two groups of states:
- Workers in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin earned 8.0 percent less per hour on average than their counterparts in Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio. The median worker earned 5.9 percent less.
- The union membership rate was 11.5 percent in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin compared to 13.7 percent in Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio.