SPRINGFIELD, IL. (KMOX) – Missouri’s recent adoption of Right-to-Work legislation leaves Illinois sitting alone, surrounded by Right-to-Work states on all sides.
John Jackson, a professor emeritus in political science at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and spokesman for the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute believes this may put pressure on Illinois lawmakers.
“I think it might increase to some extent the pressure on particularly Republican legislators in the state and make them want to perhaps work harder for Right-to-Work in Illinois,” he says.
Jackson says even though Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has raised the issue before his election, it’s not a foregone conclusion that Illinois will become a Right-to-Work state. Jackson says the Right-to-Work movement is currently languishing in the Land of Lincoln.
“There is a vestige of it, however, in Governor Rauner’s so-called ‘turn around agenda’, where he would increase the local option for Right-to-Work jurisdictions within the state,” he says.
Bob Daiber, a Metro East education official and Democrat who just announced his bid for governor, is making his opposition to the policy an early cornerstone of his campaign, while the current governor, Rauner, supports it.
Daiber says there’s no need for Illinois to join Missouri and twenty-seven other states down that path. Daiber adds there’s no compelling evidence that he’s seen that adopting Right-to-Work automatically results in job creation and retention.
“States that attract jobs invest in infrastructure, they invest in workforce and they work with their businesses to see that permitting is done fast and efficiently so that they can open their doors,” he says.
Congressman Rodney Davis is also weighing in with his perspective. He says part of his self-imposed mandate is to make sure that Illinois becomes a place where companies look to relocate and grow.
“Union versus non-union contractors, they fight less when there’s more opportunities to bid on new projects,” he says.
Davis says it’s something that he’s witnessed on the eastern side of his Congressional District since Indiana adopted Right-to-Work.
“In my most eastern parts of my district are some of the fastest growing areas that I have in my district, and in Champaign-Urbana.”
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