The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in the Janus case has slowed down union momentum. However, an annual report on “The State of the Unions” released on Labor Day has shown that it has helped increase the overall wages for Illinois workers by 11 percent. On Monday, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute released its sixth annual report on “The State of the Unions”.
The union membership had risen in last year’s study from 2017, both overall and by percentage of the Illinois workers. However, this year’s study reveals that it resumed a decades-long decline in 2018 — especially after the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling was handed down at the end of June. The study reveals that the union membership declined by about 42,000 workers.
There were 828,000 workers in 2017 and 786,000 workers last year. This indicated a drop from 15 percent of Illinois workers to 13.8 percent. The study says that the Janus ruling 15 percent of Illinois workers to 13.8 percent. The study says that the government employees took the hardest hit as he percentage of unions workers in the public sector dropped 4.5 percentage points, “with all of the decrease occurring between July 2018 and December of 2018.”
Professor Robert Bruno, a co-author of the study, who also serves as director of the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says that the “Labor unions have recently faced many legislative and judicial setbacks including the Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which may have affected unionization rates.” After the Janus ruling, former Gov. Rauner and the Illinois Policy Institute had tried hard to get workers to opt-out of their unions.
Those efforts had little effect as the public-sector unions remained the backbone of the movement in the greater Chicago area and statewide. In those regions, union membership was 46 percent compared to the national average of 34 percent.