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Workers’ Rights Amendment in Illinois passes

It's official, 5 On Your Side's political editor said. Illinois voters approved changes to the state constitution and passed the Workers' Rights Amendment.
SPRINGFIELD, IL - FEBRUARY 09: The historic Illinois State Capitol building is seen February 9, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois. Sen. Barrack Obama (D-IL) has scheduled a rally February 10 at the Capitol building and is expected to announce that he will run for president in 2008. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois voters approved changes to the state constitution Monday, passing the Workers’ Rights Amendment which would guarantee workers the right to bargain collectively. 

Unions and pro-industry groups voiced in October that the amendment could signal a new chapter in the struggle over workers’ rights as United States union ranks have grown. 

They said they view it as a way to ensure that workers will always be able to use this collective clout to secure better pay, hours and working conditions. 

The move also enshrines collective bargaining rights and bans future efforts to implement right-to-work policies, 5 On Your Side’s Mark Maxwell said in a Twitter post Monday afternoon. 

“With 2,113,534 votes in favor, there is no longer any mathematical path for the amendment's defeat,” he said.

The State Board of Elections will make all election results “official” on Dec. 5.

The amendment polled higher than every Democrat in almost every county, Maxwell said.

The amendment passed by 13,358 votes in Rock Island County — more than Illinois Democrat Eric Sorensen’s margin of victory in all of Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, he said.

Sorensen, born and raised in Rockford, was a former television weatherman. He is a strong supporter of women’s reproductive rights and disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to his former campaign. He defeated Republican challenger Esther Joy King for U.S. House seat on Nov. 8. 

Business groups and conservatives voiced that they opposed the measure in October. They said they think the amendment would drive up taxes, give unions too much power, lead to more strikes and prompt companies to leave for more industry-friendly states. 

Maxwell also said no pocket of voters rejected the amendment more roundly than the Counties surrounding Darren Bailey’s hometown. Effingham, Jasper and Wayne counties voted 74% ‘No.’

Republican State Senator Darren Bailey, a downstate farmer who was born and raised in Louisville, represents the 55th district in the Illinois State Senate. He has a lifelong background in the farming industry and is on the Senate Agriculture Committee, according to his former campaign. He recently lost to J.B. Pritzker for Illinois governor on Nov. 8. 

“Republicans looking to rebuild should take note -- workers vote,” Maxwell said.

Union rights have taken a beating in Republican-led states in recent years. Twenty-seven states now have right-to-work laws. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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