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Amendment 1 could allow Illinois police unions to reverse SAFE-T Act mandates


Illinois’ new union amendment allows government unions to bargain on virtually anything and to override state law through their union contracts. These include laws to reform police procedures.

With Amendment 1 on track to pass by a narrow simple majority, all Illinois government unions could soon have an unprecedented opportunity to overrule state and local laws simply by negotiating conflicting provisions in their collective agreements.

Because Amendment 1 raises the collective agreements of the government trade unions to the level of the state constitution. The amendment expands what government unions can request during negotiations to include virtually anything and prohibits lawmakers from ever restricting the subjects that can be included in union contracts. Government union leaders will also have a permanent right to strike to enforce their demands.

Some government unions in Illinois, including police unions, have already had the power to void state and local law simply by including conflicting provisions in their collective agreements.

It sounds crazy. And yet it is written in black and white:

“…any collective agreement between a public employer and a labor organization concluded pursuant to this Act supersedes any conflicting law, statute, ordinance, rule or regulation relating to wages, hours and working conditions and employment relationships made by the public employer, or his agents.”

Under Amendment 1, all government unions will have this power permanently, over practically everything.

These include police unions who want to counteract the provisions of the SAFE-T Act.

The SAFE-T Act has been the source of much controversy during this election cycle and has become a popular campaign issue for those skeptical of criminal justice reform in general and cashless bail in particular. While criminal justice reformers were quick to celebrate the SAFE-T Act, the law has been pushed through the legislative process, and some of the most important bail abolition provisions – those on pre-trial detention – have placed several confusing conditions on prosecutors to protect public safety.

But police unions and departments could simply negate any provisions of the SAFE-T Act they don’t like through the collective bargaining process. Examples of new mandates that could invalidate contracts include:

  • Allow anonymous complaints against officials
  • Restrictions on what constitutes a lawful use of force by a police officer, including prohibiting chokeholds, explaining when deadly force is warranted, and enforcing search warrants
  • All law enforcement agencies must use body cameras worn by officers by 2025
  • Requires specific training such as B. Instructions on the use of force techniques and de-escalation techniques.

The ability to contradict the SAFE-T Act through union contracts has not gone unnoticed, and at least one attorney has complied chirp to encourage the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police to do just that.

In fact, government unions could override more than 350 state laws through their collective bargaining agreements. These include at least 11 provisions related to DCFS workers and 38 provisions in the School Code aimed at protecting children.

With nearly 30 state contracts expiring in 2023 — and more than 6,000 Illinois government entities also set to negotiate union contracts in the next few years — Illinois citizens could soon find out just how much power has been accorded government unions. And they could see it a thousand times over.

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