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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Oak Park Village Trustee Dodge: Amendment 1 "stands to make things unbalanced"

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Oak Park Village Trustee Jim Dodge discussed his issues with Illinois Amendment 1 during a Q&A session with West Cook News.

"I support the idea of every American having the right to organize and take part in the system. The issue here is this particular law stands to make things unbalanced," Dodge said. "On top of that, I don’t think that the state of Illinois did a good job of explaining what this is about and how affects everyone. I think it gives an unfair advantage to organized labor."

While Dodge doesn't believe that Amendment 1 will give the state's union bosses too much power, he does believe that more people should be made aware of the effectiveness of organizing to effect policy. Regarding public fears that Amendment 1 will allow unions the permanent right to strike if demands are not met, Dodge said that his feelings are mixed.

"If a private sector union wants to strike, that’s one thing. But when you deny services to people to force an outcome, I think it should be a different standard," he said.

Dodge also wants the public to understand that public entities shouldn't have the power to strike and deny services that are paid for, at least in part, by taxpayer dollars.

"That this may have implications on property taxes, leaders should have done a better job of informing people before they have to make a choice," he said.

According to Illinois Policy, state families already face a $2,100 property tax increase per family over the next four years. If Amendment 1 passes, the tax increases could be much higher due to the increased powers given to union bosses. The amendment also expands on what unions can bargain over, with taxpayers expected to pay for each new topic. New bargaining points include "economic welfare" and "safety at work", which don't have clear definitions. Furthermore, Amendment 1 would also give unions the right to strike indefinitely if their demands aren't met during negotiations. While neighboring states prohibit strikes for most government employees, Illinois, in contrast, is expanding the ways in which unions can strike. The Chicago Teachers Union has walked out once each year for the past three years and has also had strikes back in 2012 and 2019.

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