Sen. Andy Manar

SPRINGFIELD – Unions would have a greater say in issues that affect the wellbeing of workers thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday.

House Bill 2301 would require state regulatory boards impacting workers in Illinois to include a representative from a recognized labor organization. These board impact the Department of Employment Security, Department of Natural Resources and the Workers' Compensation Commission.

The boards and panels under these state agencies handle issues that directly impact the lives of Illinois workers, such as workers compensation benefits and workplace safety regulations.

“These groups make many of the difficult decisions that can significantly impact the physical and financial well-being of working men and women and their families in our state and it’s only fair that they get an appropriate say in those matters,” Manar said.

Manar introduced the legislation in response to former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s practice of stacking anti-union individuals to these bodies. The measure seeks to create an appropriate balance between interested parties on boards and commissions that impact workers combining both business and labor interests together.

“We’ve seen abuses of this in the past from the previous Governor and unlike specific individuals, labor unions represent the interests of hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers and, for that reason, it’s important that they have a seat at the table,” Manar said. “This change will make the process more inclusive and make these boards and panels more representative of the people of the state as a whole.”

The measure will go into effect January 1, 2020.